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Yrjö Kukkapuro

Ateljee Chair

Finnish designer Yrjö Kukkapuro was born in Wyborg, Finland in 1933. He initially dreamt of becoming a painter. In 1956 however, he began studying furniture design at the Institute of Applied Arts in Helsinki.
In 1959 he started his own workshop, where he mainly designed functional furniture. His famous chair Karuselli from 1964 is based on an impression of the designer in the snow. The arm chair is equipped with a rocking and turning mechanism. The seating shell is made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic and is covered with leather.

As of 1973 he resolutely opted for a minimalist approach. He would eventually even turn his back on the material plastic. Birchwood multiplex became the primary material for him. In 1978 he designed the office chair Fysio, the shape of which was determined by anthropometry. This chair design won him various international prizes and awards. Responding to postmodernist trends, he began designing in a more expressive manner in the 80s. Colour and decorative elements are integrated in his work. Indicative of this period in his career is the Experiment collection.

In the 1990s, Kukkapuro added prints and abstract patterns to the back and seating of his chair designs. Well-known examples are the “tattooed” arm chairs. This Finnish designer is still active to this day. One of his latest creations is the 2007 “Element” sofa and armchair. The various items from this series are composed of various elements which are digitally produced.

Kukkapuro designed little on paper, he preferred creating plaster designs. Initially his designs were produced by Finnish furniture company Haimi, but in 1980 a new company was founded to produce his designs: Avarte.Functionality is key in Kukkapuro’s design philosophy, “Form follows function” is the motto he lives by. Time and again he takes up the challenge of creating functional, durable and comfortable furniture using as little materials as possible. Another typical trait is the lightness of the furniture and the honest shapes which often come to light in the details. 

The exhibition layout was created by Yryö Kukkapuro and gives an overview of his work from the late 50s until today. Visitors will also have the opportunity to try out a number of his designs.