Eero Aarnio(Finnish, b.1932) is a furniture designer best known for his plastic and fiberglass chairs. Born in Helsinki, he studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts before starting his own interior and industrial design office in 1962. For his early designs, such as his basket chair Jattujakkare, Aarnio used natural materials. His most well-known design, the Ball Chair (1962) is a hollow sphere made of plastic, with an opening on one side that holds a padded seat. The Bubble Chair (1968) is made by blowing acrylic through a steel ring to create a transparent sphere that is then suspended from the ceiling. In 1968, Aarnio won the American Industrial Design Award for his Plastil Chair, which is a curved, organic design made of fiberglass that floats on water. Many of his designs are humorous and playful, such as the Pony Chair and The Tipi, which is a chair made in the shape of a bird. Combining the Scandinavian tradition of simplicity with innovative use of materials, Aarnio creates furniture designs that are sculptural yet functional. His designs became iconic in popular culture during the 1960s, and his work is held in several museum collections, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He continues to design furniture, lighting, and everyday objects in his studio in Helsinki, where he lives and works.

Timeline

1932
Born July 21st in Helsinki, Finland
1956
Married Pirkko Attila
1954–1957
Studied the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, Finland
1958
First prize at Valmet Trade Mark Competition, Helsinki, Finland
1962
Established his own design office
1964
First prize at International Competition on Furniture Design, Cantu, Italy
1965
First prize at Scandinavian Park and Street Competition in Stockholm, Sweden
1966
Hi Globe chair was introduced to the public at the Cologne Furniture Fair
1968
International Design Award of the A.I.D. (American Institute of Interior Designers) for Pastil Chair (Gyro), New York, USA
1999
Honorary member of SIO (Finnish Association of Interior Designers)
2005
The Finland Prize, The Ministry of Education, Finland
2007
November 30th - Awarded an honorary title of professor by the President of Finland
2008
The Compasso d’Oro Design award for Trioli chair, Italy

Exhibitions

2008–2009
Dec. 11 - Jan. 11, Kaj Frank Design Prize Exhibition in Design Forum Finland
2007–2008
Nov. 8 - Jan. 4, "Retropop, Phantasie und Tagträume" at the Finnish Embassy in Berlin
2007
Fantasías del Pop. El diseño de Eero Aarnio, Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City
2005
Forestil dig en rund stol, Danish Design Center, Kopenhagen, Denmark
2005
Pop Fantasies: Furniture Design by Eero Aarnio, The Embassy of Finland, Washington DC, USA
2004
Eero Aarnio – popfantasier og sittende dagdrømmer, Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo, Norway
2003
Eero Aarnio, Kunsthalle, Helsinki, Finland
2001
That´s it, Art Gallery Árvore, Porto, Portugal

Literature

2008
Eero Aarnio, Kaj Frank Design Prize. Design Forum Finland
2003
Assume a round chair–Eero Aarnio and the 60´s. Kunsthalle Helsinki, University of Art and Design, Helsinki
2003
Eero Aarnio. Fang Hai. Southeast University Press, China
2002
Eero Aarnio. Fang Hai. China Architecture & Building Press