Born 1932 in Finland
Aarnio was - and still is - one of the pioneers in using plastic in industrial design.
Plastic materials set the designers free to create every shape and use any colour they wanted. This gave birth to objects oscillating between function and fun - but always fascinating.
1954 to 1957 studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki
1962 started his own office as an interior and industrial designer.
1963 Engaged in new ideas of furniture he designed the Ball Chair (or globe chair) . It was produced some years later.
Material (fibreglass) and shape were complete novelties for the furniture industry at that time. The fibreglass ball is built on a metal swivelling base, and upholstered with foam and fibrefill. The original colours were white, red, black and orange. Sitting in this chair is a special experience, because all surrounding sounds are softened, and it gives a certain feeling of privacy. Aarnio himself has a ball chair with a telephone in it, and some people had it fitted with speakers. The Ball Chair is often used in sci-fi films, and you'll find it in magazines. Vivienne Westwood used some Ball Chairs in one of her shows. In the following years fibreglass as used in boat construction became one of Aarnio's favourite materials. The resistant and well workable fibreglass enabled Aarnio to design ergonomic forms without restrictions -and intriguing new ones too.
With the Pastil Chair (American Industrial Design-Award 1968) and the Tomato Chair he earned international reputation. Chairs like these can be used both indoors and outdoors, because they float! The Pastil Chair is a new interpretation of a rocking chair.
Also in 1968 Aarnio designed the Bubble chair, made from acrylic and chromed steel. An example of his modern designs is the new fibreglass Formula chair (1998).