International Decorative Art

Laminated Plywood Platter

Laminated Plywood Platter

Design Date 1951

Designer Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985, Finnish)

Manufacturer Soinne et Kni, Finland

Media laminated wood

Dimensions 1 1/4 x 14 3/8 x 7 1/2 inches

The wood rings in two colors on Tapio Wirkkala’s laminated plywood platter emphasize its shell-like shape, combining the at-once manmade and natural qualities of plywood with an organic inspiration. Wirkkala played with the straight lines made by the plywood’s layers by cutting the laminate into round-edged shapes that recalled leaves or shells; this made the plywood’s straight lines seem to curve in a more organic way. He came up with the idea for his plywood dishes while visiting Soinne et Kni, a company that made laminated plywood for airplane propellers. The dark and light stripes on the edge of a plywood board, made by the alternating layers of glue and wood, made Wirkkala think of the growth rings on a tree trunk, and he decided to use this little-seen facet of plywood in a refined but naturalistic series of platters and bowls. These plywood platters were a sensation in 1951, winning grand prize at the Milan IX Triennale design exposition and being named the most beautiful object of the year by House Beautiful magazine.

ON VIEW in Modern Gallery 7

Markings Inscribed "TW" monogram, bottom center

Accession Number CG0615