Designer: Ilmari Tapiovaara
2 & 3 seater available.
Frame, lacquered black steel. Seat and back, polyurethane foam and polyester wadding. Upholstered with fabric or leather
Tapiovaara wanted to design inexpensive furniture for broader audience. He made use of materials that were readily available in Finland in the 1940s, such as solid birch. Later in the 1950s, he began to develop multipurpose chairs made of steel tubing and plywood.
Ilmari Tapiovaara designed Kiki in 1960. It was originally conceived as a chair whose stackability allowed it to be used to seat large groups, such as in auditoriums. In the Kiki series Tapiovaara employed a more clean cut design idiom instead of the more organic style he had favoured previously. Instead of wood, he chose oval steel tubing as the structural and unifying element of the whole Kiki collection.
Kiki was a success, establishing the current direction for furniture design at this time. Kiki’s timeless and elegant design idiom has made it one of the most popular pieces of public furniture in Finland.
Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914-1999) was one of the greatest interior architects and designers of his era. With the mind of an explorer and the soul of a craftsman, Tapiovaara was always looking for new solutions to improve everyday objects. During his long career, Tapiovaara created dozens of iconic objects loved by the public; it is often said that he captured the essence of Finnish identity.
Tapiovaara graduated from the Department of Furniture Design at the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1937. After completing his studies, he worked as an assistant at Le Corbusier’s office in Paris before becoming artistic director and designer at Asko Oy, then one of Finland’s largest furniture manufacturers. From 1946 to 1947, Tapiovaara designed furniture together with his wife Annikki for Domus Academica, the new student housing facility in Helsinki. It was in the course of this project that the famous Domus Chair was born.