Timo Sarpaneva
1926–2006

'People don't really need holidays, after all; they can carry their holidays with them, and rest when they wish,' says Professor Timo Sarpaneva, industrial designer, artist, and untiringly prolific star of international design.

Sarpaneva belongs to the generation of designers who, in the post-war decades, acted as Finland's cultural ambassadors to the world, beginning with the Milan Triennales in the 1950s, in which Sarpaneva won numerous Grands Prix.

The secret of Sarpaneva's great success, which he also enjoys at home in Finland, is that he, better than any other, is able to transform everyday objects into art, to give hope amid the gloom of life, because the companion of beauty is hope.

Sarpaneva appears to life and work at the point where time, space and material meet, and he makes that point visible through his objects. He is the poetic interpreter of the material world.

As a designer and artist he is unusually versatile, working as happily with ceramics, metal, textile and wood as with glass. Glass is, nevertheless, perhaps the material that is closest to him; 'because glass is the material of space, it is best suited as a material to be given to light', as he says himself.

And it is in capturing light that Sarpaneva is at his best: he has the ability to show us light as if seen from beneath the ice that covers the sea, or in the living foliage of the forest. In a career that has spanned more than four decades, Sarpaneva has had numerous one-man exhibitions all over the world, most recently a tour of the United States - New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington - in 1994-95, and he has also achieved eminence as a prominent exhibition architect.

His countless prizes and honours include the following: Honorary Royal Designer for Industry, Royal Society of Arts, London, 1963; Honorary Doctor, Royal College of Art, London, 1967; Professor honoris causa, Academico de Honor Extranjero, Academia de Diseľo, University of Mexico City, 1985; Honorary Doctor, University

Text from: http://virtual.finland.fi