Name: Eero & Pirkko Aarnio
Location: Finland – just outside Helsinki
Years lived in: 20
While in Helsinki, I had the unique pleasure of visiting Eero Aarnio in his home. Famous in international design circles since his designs for the Ball and Bubble chairs first appeared in the 60s, Eero Aarnio has continued to create iconic and award-winning designs for furniture, lighting and everyday products. His home is filled with his own designs — from the original prototype for the 1963 Ball Chair to new designs still in development.
This home, designed by Eero Aarnio and completed in 1989, showcases his ideal living arrangement — one that does not include barriers between private life and working life. Eero's has multiple working areas and studio space scattered about the large open living area and studio and his designs and prototypes can be found in every area of the home he shares with his wife, Pirkko. Since their marriage in 1956, this is the 17th home that Eero and Pirkko have shared. In my talk with him, Eero emphasized that the homes got better and better over time and that this home makes them both very happy.
The home is oriented on a slight slope to take advantage of the natural light and views of the nearby lake. The space is almost entirely white and the colorful Pastil chairs, Puppy seats/sculptures and large collection of books provide a color and texture to the home. Eero Aarnio has an incredible sense of fun and humor — evident in his designs and his jovial manner. His home is relaxed and comfortable.
In addition to the central fireplace, white ceramic floor tiles cover a concrete slab that uses radiant heat to keep the home warm. The expansive sloped ceiling was designed to accommodate skylights and to withstand the weight of bookshelves in the rafters and the weight of a few hanging Bubble chairs. The remarkable thing is that many of the designs that span an international career of almost 50 years are quite timeless — the Bubble chairs hang in the sunlit entry in front of Eero's 2008 design for a tree-like space divider.
Sauna is a very important part of Finnish culture. The Aarnio home includes an indoor electric sauna and a traditional smoke sauna built by the water's edge. Made from pine, the smoke sauna takes 2 hours to heat and sits just a few feet from the lake so that alternating trips to the sauna and dips in the lake are ideal for relaxation.
There are many more captioned pictures in the full House Tour.
Thanks, Eero & Pirkko!
Images: Aaron Able
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