The Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala studied sculpture in Helsinki at the Central School of Industrial Design (Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu) from 1933 until 1936. He worked as both a sculptor and graphic designer but primarily as an industrial designer.
Tapio Wirkkala became famous for his organic vase designs, which look like sculpture and recall flower calyces or mushroom forms. In 1946 Tapio Wirkkala designed "Kantarelli" for Iittala, a handblown vase with a flaring rim. Iittala produced various models of these vases from 1947 to 1960.
At least as well-known are the leaf-shaped dishes of cut laminated wood, which Tapio Wirkkala made himself. From 1951 to 1954 Tapio Wirkkala was artistic director of the Central School of Industrial Design in Helsinki.
In 1955-56 Tapio Wirkkala worked in Raymond Loewy's New York design practice. In 1956 Tapio Wirkkala opened his own design practice.
Tapio Wirkkala also designed glass for Venini. For Rosenthal Tapio Wirkkala designed a great many dishes and vases ("Aphrodite"), cutlery such as "Century", "Composition", "Kurve" and "Taille", and porcelain services, including "Century" and "Polygon".
Tapio Wirkkala received numerous international awards for his work. Tapio Wirkkala exerted a formative influence on Scandinavian design; inspired by the basic laws governing natural form, he created utilitarian objects that were as stunningly beautiful as they were functional.