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Ball Chair 1963 – Eero Aarnio

The Finnish designer Eero Aarnio (born in 1932) was one of the most famous innovators in the modern furniture design.
In the ‘60s Eero Aarnio started to experiment plastic materials, bright colours, organic shapes by turning away from the traditional design conventions. His plastic creations, now iconic, included the Ball chairs (1963), Pasti l (1968) and Bubble (1968) which reflected the culture and the soul of their time.

Many of Aarnio’s artworks are exhibited in the most important museums in the world, such as the Victoria and Albert museum in London, MoMa in New York and Vita Design Museum in Weil am Rhein. The project of a plastic armchair. This was the commission that Eero Aarnio received by Asco in the first years of the ‘60s. Asco was the Finnish biggest design company. Aarnio created an object which revelead a new kind of chair: The Ball armchair, a big fiberglass ball which lied on an iron base, as futuristic as a space capsule, an oasis of peace and tranquility, protected from the outside word.

Now it is considered as a design industrial classic. The most recent versions are bigger and have new specific tools such as music and MP3 player.

All his projects were successful, real sculptures for living. “The idea of the chair was obvious. We moved in our first home and I started my freelance career in 1962. We owned a house, but we did not own a big and proper chair, therefore I decided to design it, but in a very unordinary way. After few drawings I noticed that the shape of the chair was so simple that it was just a ball. I hung the drawing (full scale) on the wall and I sat on the chair to see how the head moved when inside the chair. Since I was the tallest of my family, I sat on the chair and my wife drew my head on the wall. This is how I decided the height of the chair. Since I wanted to design a perfect ball, the other lines were easy to draw, without forgetting that the chair had to enter through a door. Later I designed the first prototype by using an internal mould, which was created by using the same basics of a fuselage or a wing glider. I covered the mould of the plywood body with wet paper and I laminated the surface with fiberglass. I rubbed outward, removed the mould from the inside, I stuffed it and added a leg. At the end I installed a red telephone on the inner wall of the chair. The name of the chair was easy, the Ball chair is born”.