The biography of Eero Aarnio
Designer of the Month 02: Eero Aarnio
Finnish architect and designer Eero Aarnio took the international design world by storm when he, in 1966, designed the plastic Ball Chair for Asko Oy. Since 2017 Aarnio’s work has been sold by the company Eero Aarnio Originals.
Read the full biography here.
Eero Aarnio was born 1932 in Helsinki, where he during his mid-twenties (1954-59) studied architecture at the Aalto University. During his time at the university, Aarnio also worked together with architects and designers Ilmari Tapiovaara and Antti Nurmesniemi, but after taking his degree in 1960, he became a part of the design team at the Finnish furniture company Asko Oy in Lahti.
In 1962 Aarnio founded his own design studio in Helsinki, while continuing his cooperation with Asko Oy as an independent designer. One year later he created the Ball Chair, his first piece in glass fiber reinforces plastic. The Ball Chair became Aarnio’s breakthrough when it was introduced on the market in 1966 at the international furniture fair in Cologne, but it had already made an entrance when it was used in the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965). In 1968 Aarnio created the Bubble Chair and Pastilli, of which the later won the International Design Award from the American Institute of Interior Design.
From 1972 to 1982 Aarnio ran a design studio in Cologne, which later moved to Taipola and Veikola in Finland where it closed in 2000. During this period Aarnio was represented in the exhibition Masters of Modern Design at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York (1991) and became an honorary member of the association of Finnish interior architects (1991).
In 2001 Aarnio’s first lamp, Double Bubble, was made by the company Melaja, and in the same year he opened a new design studio in Veikola. Four years later, Aarnio started a collaboration with Italian company Magis on the Trioli Chair, which was rewarded with the Compasso D’oro in 2008. In the same year Aarnio also received the Kaj Franck Award and the Finlandia Medal.
In 2016 the Designmuseo in Helsinki made a retrospective exhibition on Aarnio's work and one year later Eero Aarnio Originals, a Helsinki based company with the rights to Aarnio’s plastic furnitures, was launched at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. In 2017 Eero Aarnio was awarded the Swedish Prince Eugene Medal.
MDM Talks #3: We talked with the 2022 Malmsten graduate Julia Sthillert. For her graduation project, she designed a lounge chair for the gaming studio Activision Blizzard.