‘Pirkka’ series table and stool, Laukaan Puu. 1950s
The Pirkka range was designed by Finnish interior architect and designer Ilmari Tapiovaara in 1955 for Laukaan Puu. The design alludes to the forms of Finnish rustic furniture. Tapiovaara was always seeking for new solutions to improve everyday objects. During his long career, Tapiovaara created dozens of iconic objects loved by the public. Tapiovaara is especially revered as a master of characteristic and human objects and surroundings. The designs of Ilmari Tapiovaara have proved their quality by remaining a part of our daily lives as interesting, still relevant, functional and aesthetic pieces of furniture.
Model E90, lacquered plywood birch stacking stool. Designed 1933 – Finmar label
This is an early and rare version of this iconic 1930s design.
Finmar were a wholesale company who imported Aalto design plywood furniture from Finland to the UK during the early c20th. The Finmar label is one of the few ways of certifying an early version of this stool.
Walter Gropius (German, 1883-1969) redesign of Isokon plywood table/stool 1930s
A stool/table with removable tray top, manufactured by the Venesta Plywood Company, Estonia, 193os for Isokon, UK.
The stools were originally designed for the ‘Isobar’ restaurant/lounge within the modernist Lawn Road flats, London (see image). The Isobar restaurant was realised in 1937 after the communal kitchen in the building was converted to a design by Marcel Breuer and F.R.S.Yorke from the Modern Architectural Research Group (the MARS group). Trays were made for some of the stools so that customers cold take the tray to the bar when fetching drinks.
Alistair Greave’s 2004 book Isokon for Ease for Ever describes this rare variation of the plywood stools as having tighter designed cut out shapes than the regular versions seen in the image of the Isobar. He attributes this adaptation of the design to Walter Gropius who during the mid-1930s was in exile in London working for the Isokon group alongside British architects like Maxwell Fry and others. Their designs continued the dogmas of modernist ethics begun earlier at the Bauhaus; simplicity, economy and aesthetic beauty.
It retains its original circular tray built with a thinner plywood edge (they normally always have thicker edged trays to prevent warping) The thin edge is thought to have been part of Gropius’s redesign that may not have been put into production because of the structural difficulties. Both sections are marked by Venesta (the Estonian company employed by Pritchard to manufacture the Isokon plywood furniture)