Tapio Wirkkala (1915 – 1985) is the central figure of Finnish design, first among equals in the golden postwar generation – Wirkkala, Franck, Nurmisniemi, Sarpaneva – that brought Finland to the pinnacle of world design.
A former student of sculpture, Wirkkala opposed the traditionally defined borders between art, craft and design. He superbly handled materials – wood, glass, ceramic, plastic, metal – both for artistic objects and for mass production. He also tried his hand at graphic design (Finnish bank notes); his photographs of Lapland were regularly published in Domus. He was a tireless promoter of Finnish design, participating and often setting up exhibitions (Milan Triennial 1951 and 1954, Finlandia).