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Eero Aarnio

1932 Helsinki

The Finnish designer Eero Aarnio is regarded as a pioneer in using plastic materials. Between 1954 and 1957 Eero Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki. In 1962 Eero Aarnio set up his own studio there. He worked as an interior decorator, industrial designer, graphic designer and photographer.
For his early furniture designs, Eero Aarnio mainly used natural materials, for instance, for the basket chair "Jattujakkare". In the 1960s Eero Aarnio turned increasingly to the new plastic materials, especially fiber glass. In 1965 Eero Aarnio designed the legendary "Ball Chair" (or "Globe Chair"), a globular seat made from plastic that was reinforced with glass-fibers. The seat is based on a narrow plinth with a broad bottom; there is a round opening in the front. The inner part of the globe is padded and soft and serves as a seat. Sitting inside, the noises from outside seem to be quite absorbed and far away, whilst sound from the inside is actually amplified.
This cocoon feeling is even stronger in the 1968 "Bubble Chair"; its curved seat consists of transparent perspex and is dangling from the ceiling. Another 1968 Eero Aarnio chair is "Plastil", for which Eero Aarnio received the American Industrial Design Award. Even though Eero Aarnio's design objects coincide with the era of Pop design, he repudiated the throwaway ethic of the 1960s and 1970s. Far from it: Eero Aarnio explored the possibilities of the new material plastic while remaining true to the Scandinavian tradition of quality and durability.

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