New products


New products
North American Collection
Urban Elements
Download our catalogs
Image library
Image library access



Nuestro conocimiento a tu servicio
Buscar por ciudad
Discover Santa & Cole
Belloch: a knowledge park
Santa & Cole Group
Parc de Belloch

Ctra. C-251, Km 5,6
E-08430 La Roca (Barcelona)
See map
T. +34 938 619 100
F. +34 938 711 767


T. +34 938 619 100
F. +34 938 711 767


T. +34 938 619 100
F. +34 938 711 767

United States

2005 Charleston Trace
Roswell, GA 30075
T. +1 404 858 4610

United Kingdom

39 Dibben Street
London N1 8RH
T. +44 (0) 7596 831 942


45 Allées Jean Jaurès
31000 Tolouse
T. +33 562 877 216
F. +33 562 877 217

Where to buy

Contact locator


Press area

Do you have a question?

Contact us

Santa & Cole Team

Work With Us
Home   >   About Us   >   Designers

Ilmari Tapiovaara

Hämeenlinna, 1914 - 1999

Ilmari Tapiovaara

Ilmari Tapiovaara is a pioneer in the new industrial design that arouse after World War II, when it was no more a cultural luxury asset but spread to the whole of society.

Ilmari Tapiovaara was born in 1914 in Hämeenlinna (Finland), and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he got in contact with functionalism, with Alvar Aalto's designs, and with the Modern movement. He then completed his training at Le Corbusier's studio. He was also greatly influenced and inspired by the contact with nature of his childhood: "Nature is the best and closest guide for industrial designers."

Tapiovaara had to face the new practical challenges that modern industrial design posed: how to assemble series of pieces, how to package rationally for transportation and export, solidity, ergonomy, and the investigation on new materials and techniques. The result of his work are ironic and persuasive pieces, that make a subtle allusion to tradition, while stile being transgressor and timeless at the same time, and blessed by the poetic of shape. Ilmari Tapiovaara died in 1999, after having set the bases for the development of industrial design.

A main characteristic of Tapiovaara's work is that he explored its possibilities through multiplicity: he created many versions of each of his important pieces, and reissued them in different shapes. He did this for instance with the Fanett-Demoiselle chair (1957); the famous Domus chair (1946), made of solid birch and lacquered plywood that was part of the furniture for the students residence Domus Académica, and then produced by Knoll as the Finnchair; the Trienna chair (1954); the Lukki chair, a chair that can be piled up, with a curved steel tube and plywood; the Otto cutlery (1986); or the Maija Mehiläinen lamp for Asko (1957), later edited by Santa & Cole.

He also carried out many outstanding interior design projects in Finland, the United States and the rest of Europe, such as in the OKO Bank, Olivetti's showroom, or the Hotel Intercontinental, all of them in Helsinki.

Besides his professional career, Tapiovaara devoted much of his time to teaching, in the United States and in Finland. He considered that designers needed to learn Philosophy, because without ideas there is no design and he considered that "Leonardo was the most famous and maybe the best product designer in history."

More Information:

facebook share     Share on tweeter     pin it     Share on Google+