In his work, contrasting materials were imbued with the incontestable forms found in natural phenomena. An object achieves perfection through the unity of thought and material, idea and realisation, form and purpose. For Wirkkala, the form of an object was not just an aesthetic goal or intellectual perception, but the outcome of a dialogue between hand, eye and material:
"All materials have their own unwritten laws... You should never be violent with the material you're working on, and the designer should aim at being in harmony with his material."
The idioms in Wirkkala's objects are normally derived from nature, sometimes from the shape of a leaf, ridge, whirlpool or seashell, sometimes the shape of a bird. Most often the natural essence is so deeply buried that its origin can no longer be recognised or explained in words, almost as though he had cast a poetic spell over his works.
Tapio Wirkkala combined craftsmanship with industrial mass production, artistic form with anonymous series, rustic simplicity with cosmopolitan elegance, emotion with perception, playful experimentation with responsibility. His objects exhibit both a sculptural concept of form and a studied scientific utility, simultaneously unique and bound to tradition.
'Although Wirkkala's artworks and objects are to be found in the worls's leading museums, Finns have used his anonymous utility objects for decades. As his name is normally associated with luxurious decorative objects, few know that he also designed the everyday banknotes, ketchup, beer and vodka bottles.
Tapio Wirkkala also worked abroad, in particular in Italy, Germany and Mexico. His modesty, industry and professional skill overcome all language and other barriers, whether working with traditional Murano glassblowers or Mexican silversmiths.
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