In the 1960s, Finnish designer Eero Aarnio was one of several pioneering designers, among them Richard Schultz, Joe Colombo, and Verner Panton, to shape plastic into extraordinary forms. Then and still today, Aarnio’s explorations with plastics yield objects that are as much fanciful sculpture as useful design.
Born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1932, Aarnio has spent his life exploring and surpassing the perceived limitations of both organic and synthetic materials. He studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and soon after opened an interior and industrial design office. One of his first experiments with plastic yielded the Ball Chair, described by The New York Times as one of “the most comfortable forms to hold the human body.” The now iconic Ball—a fiberglass reinforced polyester sphere with a hollowed-out upholstered interior—has appeared in countless films and photo shoots and is included in the collections of some of the world’s most prestigious museums.
Aarnio followed the success of Ball with other award-winning designs, including the Pastil, Polaris, Tomato, and Pony Chairs. From his studio in Finland, Aarnio continues to create functional and whimsical work, including Puppy, a molded plastic creation that’s both a seat and a child’s plaything, created for Italian manufacturer Magis.