One of the greatest interior architects of his time, Ilmari Tapiovaara’s design philosophy was guided by improving upon everyday objects to create warm, well lit environments. Born in 1914 in Hämeenlinna, Finland, Tapiovaara graduated from the Department of Furniture Design at the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1937 and worked at Le Corbusier in France before moving back home to join Finland’s largest furniture factory, Asko.
The designer’s extensive repertoire included furnishings for public use found in numerous commercial spaces that captured the Finnish identity throughout the 1940s. It was during this period that Tapiovaara and his wife Anniki Tapiovaara designed the iconic Domus Chair as part of a series for the Domus Academica student housing complex in Helsinki. In the 1950s, Tapiovaara designed a lighting collection of brass and metal discs known as the Maija lamps that blended function and intimacy, illuminating an ultra diffused glow.