Tapio Wirkkala for Asko Coffee Table in Birch with Inlays
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Tapio Wirkkala for Asko, side table, birch, plywood, steel, brass, Finland, 1960s
Coffee table with plywood inlays designed by Tapio Wirkkala, manufactured by Asko. This rectangular coffee table is one of Wirkkala's iconic furniture designs. Decorated with three oval shaped wooden inlays that are made with a special technique of layered plywood the top is highlighted. It rests on four metal legs with round brass feet.
Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was not only a Finnish furniture and product designer but a sculptor too, and he was one of the major figures of postwar design in Finland. In 1933, Wirkkala began to studiy industrial arts at the Central School of Applied Arts and graduated in 1936. Under his fellow students was no other than Ilmari Tapiovaara. After forced military service and the Second World War, Wirkkala started to work successfully as a glass artist. He also worked as a graphic, exhibition and furniture designer. As he said himself "my fatal defect is that I am interested in too many things". His oeuvre contains cutlery, glass ware, furniture and sculptures. At the Triennale in 1951, Wirkkala was aquainted with Gio Ponti and his family to whom Wirkkala began a friendship. One of his trademarks is his incorporation of Finnish flora and fauna in his design. He is inspired by the materials and appearances of nature. His sensitive approach to different materials and his great craftsmanship resulted in striking designs. Already in the 1940s Wirkkala’s interest for plywood arose. By grinding laminated plywood Wirkkala achieved rhythmic lines. These patterns would often resemble in leaves or other natural shapes. Like the tables he designed for Asko show the technique of plywood intarsia used as decorative accents on the tabletops.
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