Foreign Exhibition: Helsinki, Eero Aarnio 8 April – 25 September 2016

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The most extensive overview thus far of the work and thought of designer Eero Aarnio has open at Design Museum. Aged 83, Professor and interior architect Eero Aarnio has had an exceptionally long career and is one of the internationally most widely known names in the history of modern design in Finland.

The Eero Aarnio retrospective will be a comprehensive exhibition of the designer’s work in furniture, lamps, small objects and unique one-off pieces from the 1950s to the present. Along with objects it will also feature more rarely seen original drawings and sketches demonstrating the designer’s work. Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the less-known aspects of Aarnio’s design process with materials collected from the designer’s own work table and the production lines of the factories. The exhibition is curated by Suvi Saloniemi, Chief Curator at Design Museum, and the exhibition architecture is by
Ville Kokkonen and Florencia Colombo.

– In addition to objects related to design, the exhibition will present Aarnio’s dynamic personality and the colourful stages of his life with photographs, personalia, early experiments in design and films, says Chief Curator Suvi Saloniemi of Design Museum, who is responsible for the exhibition.

– Eero Aarnio’s work combines the irrational and the rational in an almost schizophrenic way. The combination of the comical and unruly with reduced modern form creates an interesting tension, notes Saloniemi.

A designer who is known everywhere
Eero Aarnio became internationally known with the Ball chair, first made in 1963 and introduced at the Cologne Furniture Fair in 1966. Aarnio’s work is displayed in the collections of the world’s leading museums and continues to appear in numerous international films, music videos and fashion catalogues.

– I began to design furniture, because a piece of furniture is the most important and most prominent product of an interior, and a chair is the most difficult and most fascinating thing to design, observes Eero Aarnio.

According to him, ideas for products come about either purely from dreams and the imagination or from a desire to solve a problem or update a new product – depending on whether the objective is purely a work of art or a utility object. – It is also possible to create a new need, a good example of which is “Puppy”, which I designed. No one needs it, but there are so many who want to have it.

According to Eero Aarnio, a successful product opens up an immense chain of production in addition to its practical, aesthetic and form-related properties. – It begins with the suppliers of materials, employees, packaging staff, shipping, billing, marketing and many other minor things alongside them. It is about this, and this alone, even now in Finland – jobs must be created, Aarnio points out.

Eero Aarnio

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