Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914-1999) was one of the greatest interior architects and designers of his era. With the mind of an explorer and the soul of a craftsman, Tapiovaara was always looking for new solutions to improve everyday objects. During his long career, Tapiovaara created dozens of iconic objects loved by the public; it is often said that he captured the essence of Finnish identity.
Tapiovaara graduated from the Department of Furniture Design at the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1937. After completing his studies, he worked as an assistant at Le Corbusier’s office in Paris before becoming artistic director and designer at Asko Oy, then one of Finland’s largest furniture manufacturers.
From 1946 to 1947, Tapiovaara designed furniture together with his wife Annikki for Domus Academica, the new student housing facility in Helsinki. It was in the course of this project that the famous Domus Chair was born.
Tapiovaara was a great admirer of Alvar Aalto’s work, and he wanted to create products based on the same ideological premises. Embracing the principle that functionalism goes hand in hand with social equality, Tapiovaara felt that architecture was the starting point of his design work.
Over his lifetime, Tapiovaara won a total of six gold medals at the Milan Triennale, in addition to many other prestigious architecture and design awards.