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At the heart of the exhibition opening in the Gallery at the Alvar Aalto Museum on Thursday, 19.11.2015, is the Finnish interior architect and designer Ilmari Tapiovaara. The exhibition is a spellbinding voyage through Tapiovaara’s life, from young student to one of Finland’s most important designers.


Ilmari Tapiovaara at the beach. Photo: The Design Museum.

Ilmari Tapiovaara at the beach. Photo: The Design Museum.

Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914–1999) was one of the big names in Finnish design and interior architecture. Many of the first successful Finnish design products bear his signature.

The exhibition being staged at the Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery shows viewers a productive, socially responsible, charismatic designer. Tapiovaara, who graduated as an interior architect, carved out a multifaceted career for himself in design, for instance, working as artistic director for a furniture manufacturer, as a teacher, and in development-cooperation, as well as running his own design office.

“Tapiovaara’s extensive chair production makes him a very good fit for the Alvar Aalto Museum’s exhibition series. He was able to realize Artek’s goal of making people’s everyday lives more beautiful and more functional,” says Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh.

Tapiovaara championed contemporary professional design. In his working process he fostered the ideal of democratic production and solidarity that went beyond geographical boundaries, stressing an ecological approach and the importance of local production.

“It is fascinating how far Tapiovaara took the combination of beauty and functionality. His objects are highly appealing in their ergonomics and external appearance, and yet, also reflect a constant attention to material consumption, packaging, transportation and stackability. For me, Tapiovaara is an exemplary pointer to the designer’s ecological responsibility,” says Curator at the Alvar Aalto Foundation Mari Murtoniemi.

The exhibition includes furniture, original drawings and sketches, interior designs and Tapiovaara’s personal belongings.

The year 2014 marked the centenary of Tapiovaara’s birth. The exhibition now on at the Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery is based on the Ilmari Tapiovaara centenary exhibition at Design Museum, Helsinki.

Ilmari Tapiovaara

Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery
Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä
open Tues–Sun 11–18

Exhibition opening at 18:00 on Thursday, 19.11.2016.

Further information:

Annukka Pakarinen
Communications, Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 50 381 0143

Press photos: