Eero Aarnio was – and still is – one of the pioneers in using plastic in industrial design. Plastic material set the designers free to create every shape and use every color they wanted. This gave birth to objects oscillating between function and fun – but always fascinating ones.
The finnish designer Eero Aarnio, born in 1932, studied from 1954 to 1957 at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and started in 1962 with his own office as an interior and industrial designer.
The Ball Chair – or Globe Chair as it’s called sometimes – was designed by using one of the most simple geometric forms – the ball. Ball Chair is a “room within a room” with a cozy and calm athmosphere, protecting outside noises and giving a private space for relaxing or having a phonecall. Turning around its own axis on the base the view to the outer space is variable for the user and thus he is not completely excluded from world outside.
Aarnio about Bubble Chair: “After I had made the Ball Chair I wanted to have the light inside it and so I had the idea of a transparent ball where light comes from all directions. The only suitable material is acrylic which is heated and blown into shape like a soap bubble. Since I knew that the dome-shaped skylights are made in this way I contacted the manufacturer and asked if it would be technically possible to blow a bubble that is bigger than a hemisphere. The answer was yes. I had a steel ring made, the bubble was blown and cushions were added and the chair was ready. And again the name was obvious: BUBBLE.”
One year after he had designed the Pastil Chair in 1968 Eero Aarnio received the American Industrial Award for this chair. Aarnio about Pastil Chair: “The Pastil shape can be looked at from many angles. The initial idea could be the same as in a Screw Table i.e. the product shape comes from a small sweetie, pastil, but in this case the idea was, that a lot of empty, cushioned space is sent to the other side of the world inside the Ball Chair. A new round chair would fit in this space, and so the diameter of the Pastil is the same as the opening of the Ball Chair. I made the first prototype out of polystyrene which helped me to verify the measurements, ergonomics and rocking ability.
Aarnio about Tomato Chair: “A product idea can come about in many different ways and here is one of them. I realized that Pastil Chair floats and carries the person who sits in it in water but it is very rickety. If there were three items like two great armrests and the back of the chair would be stable, and this is how the idea of the TOMATO Chair was born. The name reflects its looks: looking at the chair from the front there are two round shapes i.e. two circles like in the word tOmatO.”
The table is made of fibreglass with 60cm diameter and 60 cm height. Eero Aarnio prefers the Parabel Table to be sold only in white as this colour especially marks out the sculptural elements.
(All images and data for Eero Aarnio from ADELTA)