The Story

About Eero

Eero Aarnio is the Finnish designer and innovator responsible for some of the most recognisable and best loved pieces of furniture of the last century.

A family business

Having always preferred to work from home, surrounded by his family and creations (and with his smoke sauna just a few short steps down the garden path), Eero has never had an independent studio. His designs have been shaped accordingly: even the chair that launched his career in 1966, the Ball Chair, was conceived because he wanted a seat which would fit the four of them together. His daughters – muses, models and product testers when they were very small – are still very much involved in the business today and his wife, Pirkko, remains his closest conspirator.

Why? Yes but equally, why not?

Eero is well known for having pioneered the use of new materials (in particular plastic and fiberglass) and processes in order to create the unusual forms that have sprung from his sketchbooks for over sixty years. His imagination is fuelled by a continual curiosity, the urge to question ‘why?’, ‘how?’, and ‘might it be possible to…?’

This innovative and intuitive approach led to his breaking the typical Scandinavian design mould of the mid twentieth century. At a time when sober clean lines and angles were the order of the day, Eero bent the rules and rounded the corners. Did he break the mould? He didn’t need to, he simply made a new one.

It’s personal

The Ball Chair, The Bubble Chair, The Pony. Eero’s creations aren’t just pieces of furniture, they are characters in their own right. They are extraordinary because they have been designed in an extraordinary way: from a place of love and optimism, shaped by gut feeling, curiosity and imagination.

1932

Eero Aarnio was born on 21 July 1932 in Helsinki, Finland.

1954–57

Studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki.

1956

Married Pirkko Attila.

1958

Wins first prize at the Valmet Trade Mark Competition, Helsinki, Finland

1959–61

Had his two daughters, Marja-Leena in 1959 and Rea in 1961.

1960–62

Designer, Asko Oy, Lahti in Finland. The Grand Chair launches in 1962, Eero’s last project as an employee at Asko.

1964

Wins first prize at the International Furniture Design Competition, Cantu, Italy.

1966

The Ball Chair makes its debut at the Cologne Furniture Fair.

1967

The Cognac Chair originally launches as ‘Sirius’ and aroused international attention as a new piece by the designer of the ‘world- famous Ball Chair’.

1967

The fibreglass Pastil chair launches, made by Artekno.

1968

Presented with the International Design Award of the American Institute of Interior Designers for Pastil Chair.

1968

The form-pressed acrylic Bubble Chair launches.

1973

The world is introduced to ‘Pony’.

1978

Eero Aarnio Design Studio GMBH opens in Cologne, Germany.

1982

Design studio moves to Tapiola, Finland.

1988-89

The Aarnio family moves home and studio to Veikkola, to a house designed by Eero.

1991

Screw table launches.

Made an Honourary Member of SIO (Finnish Association of Interior Designers).

2003-07

Eero begins experimenting more with lighting and lamp design. Double Bubble launches, followed by Origo and Swan.

2005

Children (and adults) all over the world go mad for ‘Puppy’.

Awarded the Interior Innovation Award, Cologne, Germany.

Eero Aarnio Life In Design opens at AXIS Gallery at Tokyo and Tokyo Design Museum, Osaka, Japan.

Designs showcased as part of Golden Generation: Modernism in Finnish Architecture and Design, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

2016

Eero Aarnio exhibition opens at Design Museum Helsinki.