Yrjö Kukkapuro reclines in his 1976 Fysio chair in the open sitting area of his live-work home outside Helsinki—a perfect time capsule of the Pop art–influenced 1960s. He is surrounded by products from his six-decade career, including a molded fiberglass-and-leather Karuselli lounge chair, designed in 1964 and soon to be reintroduced by Artek.
The 1968 house’s shape—a rounded triangle topped with a sweeping concrete roofline that suggests a helmet as it rises above huge banks of windows—lends itself totally to Kukkapuro’s philosophy. “It is a structure in waiting, prone to change as the landscape around it—not yet a form, rather a possibility,” he says. “It changes in harmony with the seasons and the moods of its inhabitants.”
Kukkapuro and his wife built the house with the intention of living in the studio so it would be “no problem for us to bring work home.” Near his standing desk are a few forays into pressed plywood and tube-metal construction, produced after the oil crisis of 1973 forced him to abandon fiberglass and plastics.
In the late 1970s, he experimented with a sofa that sports a stylized landscape painted on its sides, a prelude to the postmodernism of the 1980s. The Kukkapuros’ respective work spaces are side by side and occupy roughly one-third of the studio’s 2,150 square feet.
The 1964 Ateljee line was born out of a loose idea encouraged by Kukkapuro’s manufacturer, Gunnar Haimi. Starting with a wooden box filled with pillows, Kukkapuro came up with a modular seating system comprising plush upholstery attached to a simple paneled frame. The undercarriage was inspired by the metal Heteka cot, ubiquitous in postwar Finland.