21 March – 24 May 2015
This exhibition at Design Museum Gallery presents sketches and working plans by Paavo Tynell (1890 –1973), one of Finland’s leading designers of lamps and light-fittings. The exhibition takes a look at Tynell’s original drawings, which have been rarely on display. An archive of over 4,000 sketches by Tynell that was donated to Design Museum has recently been digitized. The material, which has been scanned into a database, offers new opportunities for research.
In 2012, Design Museum received a donation consisting of Paavo Tynell’s archive of sketches along with a collection of related photographs. The sketches encompass the whole of Tynell’s career from the 1920s to the 1960s. An important body of material in the archives concerns Tynell’s widely-known brass light fittings which he designed for the Taito company between 1944 and 1953.
The study of working drawings by Tynell has only just begun. Only a small number of the sketches include information such as the date or the location for which the light fitting was designed. We do not have other archive material, such as orders and information on deliveries, that would help in dating the material, says Harry Kivilinna of Design Museum who curated the exhibition. Previously, the catalogues of the Idman company were mainly used for identifying light fittings by Tynell, notes Kivilinna. The Taito company was merged with Idman in 1954, after which the former Taito models sold by Idman are to be found in the latter’s catalogues. It may be difficult to trace the history of the earliest light fittings. Information on the origin of the light fittings has been passed on orally, says Kivilinna.
Lamps and light fittings designed by Tynell were costly items already at the time when they were made. Digitization has made the original sketches and drawings more accessible in aid of the study of the designed models. It is also a potential aid in establishing the origin of designs. The exhibition presents a sample of almost one hundred sketches and drawings, telling about the work of designing these appreciated and highly regarded light fittings.
In April, Design Museum will hold a special event where the public can meet Finnish experts on Paavo Tynell’s work.
Paavo Tynell (1890–1973) was a Finnish designer. He was one of the founders of the Taito “art forging” firm, serving as its director and head designer until 1954. Tynell’s main work included lighting design for the Lasipalatsi building in Helsinki and the lighting for the office of the Secretary General of United Nations. From the 1930s until the 1950s, Tynell was one of Finland’s most widely used designers of light fittings for public spaces. Alvar Aalto, among other architects, collaborated with him in the design of interiors and lighting.