Tapio Wirkkala (2 June 1915 – 19 May 1985)
Tapio Wirkkala was known for his versatility as a post-war designer. His work ranges from plastic ketchup bottles and metalware to glass, ceramics and plywood in a range of styles. He designed the Finnish markka banknotes introduced in 1955. His range was immense, designing glassware, stoneware, jewelry, and furniture for mass production, as well as individual sculptures in several media.
Among his most famous works have been the design for the Chantarelle Vase, the Finlandia vodka bottle,and for Iittala’s Ultima Thule set of kitchen glasses. The latter items feature a dripping icicle look, and in the case of Iittala’s popular glassware it is said to have taken thousands of hours to develop a glassblowing technique that would produce the effect.
During his career, Wirkkala has been highly decorated, participated in many international exhibitions, as well as being the artistic director of the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki for many years.