Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914 – 1999) was an acclaimed Finnish interior architect and furniture designer.
Now, exactly 52 years after ‘Kiki’ range has won him the gold prize at the Milan Triennale in 1960, the renowned furniture brand Artek is about to rerelease this beautifully reduced collection of upholstered, tubular steel furniture. The series, which Tapiovaara developed after having designed an initial, space-saving stackable chair intended for use in large spaces such as conference halls and auditorium, now also includes a two- and three-seater sofa and bench models; a side, sofa and standard-height table, as well as our favourite, a small but brilliantly vibrant tangerine stool.
One of the most popular pieces of public furniture in Finland, ‘Kiki’ will be presented, along with Harri Koskinen’s new lounge chair addition to his ‘Lento‘ series, in less than a month during this year’s edition of Milan’s Salone del Mobile fair.
More about the series:
‘Tapiovaara wanted to design inexpensive furniture for broader audience. He made use of materials that were readily available in Finland in the 1940s, such as solid birch. Later in the 1950s, he began to develop multipurpose chairs made of steel tubing and plywood. Ilmari Tapiovaara designed Kiki in 1960. It was originally conceived as a chair whose stackability allowed it to be used to seat large groups, such as in auditoriums. In the Kiki series Tapiovaara employed a more clean cut design idiom instead of the more organic style he had favoured previously. Instead of wood, he chose oval steel tubing as the structural and unifying element of the whole Kiki collection. Kiki was a huge success, establishing the current direction for furniture design at this time.’