Finnish masters of simplicity and sophistication
Simo Heikkilä & Yrjö Wiherheimo - Finnish masters of simplicity and sophistication
Simo Heikkilä and Yrjö Wiherheimo, two of Finland's renowned architects, have carved their niche in the design world with their unique minimalistic chairs. Their shared passion for functionality and innovation has resulted in creations that stand apart from conventional designs. The Visio and Flok chair series exemplify their philosophy, capturing attention with thoughtful details and paving the way for a new era in Nordic furniture design.
Simo Heikkilä (b.1943) and Yrjö Wiherheimo (b.1941) are among Finland's internationally most famous architects and designers. They were two of the late 1960s young, radical furniture designers and were noticed, not least for their minimalistic chairs. Their fruitful collaboration extends for decades, and they have had some of the Nordic region's leading furniture manufacturers as clients during the years. Their products often show strong identities and a clear and consequent design language.
Besides their love for functionality, simplicity, and low-key expression Heikkilä and Wiherheimo share an experimental view of their work which often leads them to invent details that distinguish their chairs from the mainstream design.
The concept of the Visio chair, designed for the Finnish manufacturer Vivero in 1980, serves as an excellent example of Heikkilä’s and Wiherheimo’s design philosophy. This chair’s ground structure is as simple as possible with steel tubing, straight plywood board in seat and back, and added thin upholstery. What makes the chair a masterpiece is the specially developed steel spring detail that besides giving a signature creates a comfortable movement and thus better seating comfort. This type of cleverness makes Heikkilä and Wiherheimo two of the most interesting furniture designers of the late 2000th Century.
In the early 1990s, Simo Heikkilä and Yrjö Wiherheimo started experimenting with chair-base constructions in die-cast aluminum. Due to expensive tooling, this production technique was very seldom used by the Nordic furniture manufacturers at the time. But when shown Heikkilä’s and Wiherheimo’s sketches and mock-ups, the Swedish manufacturer Klaessons’ directors decided to invest in the concept. After some years of development, the Flok chair series was launched in 1995 and became one of the most acclaimed chairs on the Nordic interior market.
MDM Talks #9: We talked with the designer Emma Wikner. In 2022 Emma graduated from Konstfack. For her graduation project, Vita Sannar, she designed a Cabinet made from CNC-milled MDF boards. The uniquely designed piece was inspired by the swirly patterns in the sand created by waves.