Paavo Tynell was co-founder and one of the main designers of Taito AB, the first industrial producer of lighting in Finland. With the innovation of electricity in the beginning of the 20th century, Taito and Tynell expanded the thinking and manufacturing of modern lighting solutions in Europe and abroad, producing fixtures for all of Alvar Aalto’s major projects, including the Paimio Sanatorium (1929-1933), the Viipuri Library (1935) and the Savoy restaurant (1937). He gained international prominence, winning awards at the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona and the Milan Triennale of 1933, and particularly through his U.S. partnership with Finland House from 1947, a New York design atelier that showcased the work of Finnish designers and craftspeople. His elegant brass designs, marketed under the name Finland House (however still made by Taito in Helsinki, and from 1954 by Idman Oy when they acquired Taito), created a huge demand in North America, and he went on to design the lighting for the United Nations Secretary General’s Office in the United Nations building in 1955.
A master craftsman himself, Tynell’s designs for Taito and Idman synthesised a traditional aesthetic with a modern sensibility. With the use of a few simple materials – perforated and polished brass, glass, leather – Paavo Tynell created an easily recognisable style with a gently ornamented yet sleek design. His focus on the interplay between light and shadow, combined with a respect for high-calibre craftsmanship and a timeless elegance of form, creates a subtlety of atmosphere which continues to resonate and enhance today’s interiors.