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Eero Aarnio

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Eero Aarnio

*  1932 Helsinki

The Finnish designer Eero Aarnio, who studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki from 1954 until 1957, was a pioneering exponent of using plastic for designer objects. In 1962 Eero Aarnio established a studio for interior decoration and industrial design but also worked as a graphic designer and photographer. In the early years of his career, Eero Aarnio followed the Finnish tradition of using mainly natural materials for designs such as "Jattujakkare", a basket chair. In the 1960s, however, Eero Aarnio increasingly experimented with the new plastic materials, notably developing a preference for fiber glass. In 1963 Eero Aarnio designed the legendary "Ball Chair" (or "Globe Chair", manufactured in 1965), a globular seating shell of plastic reeinforced with glass fiber attached to a narrow plinth with a broad bottom and a round opening in the front, through which one can look whilst beeing seated on the upholstered inside. The globe mutes all sounds from outside but sounds heard inside are amplified. The globe provides anyone seated inside with a protective and intimate space. The Eero Aarnio "Bubble Chair" (1968) represented a further development, one that even enhances the cocooning effect. The shell of this chair is made of transparent Lucite and is suspended from the ceiling. Another Eero Aarnio chair created in 1968 was "Plastil", for which Eero Aarnio received the American Industrial Design Award. It was followed by many other seat objects, in which Eero Aarnio continued to pursue the organic seat form, executing it in new plastic materials and in Pop colors. Although Eero Aarnio's design objects date from the Pop era, he detested the throwaway ethic of the 1960s and 1970s. On the contrary, Eero Aarnio explored the potential of plastic as the new material while remaining true to the Scandinavian tradition of quality and durability.