Some furniture is designed with research, some out of necessity and others from the most unlikely of inspiration. The Artek Karuselli is a story of Finnish vodka, Finnish winter and man’s threshold for the cold.
It’s a cold night in Helsinki. Yrjo Kukkapuro is out with some mates. They're probably talking about Finnish politics and rally car racing. Vodka would have been sipped whilst they conquered these important subjects. When Yrjo left for home, a little drunk. He walked up his front path and, keys in hand, he missed the keyhole and slumped backwards into a handy snow bank.
He awoke an hour or so later, and now a little more sober, he struggled to his feet, and once again fished out his keys. This time he got in. As he started to undress, he had a quiet feeling of calm. Of comfort. He realized, even though it had been chilly sitting out in the freezing cold, that it had been incredibly comfortable. This set his designer’s brain into action - he grabbed a camera and an pen, took some photos of the shape he’d left in the snow, and made some memory-jogging sketches.
Over the next days and weeks he set about designing his chair. Then he put it on a spinning and reclining base - I suppose this has something to do with the amount he’d had to drink. The Karruseli was born, named by his daughter Isa, as it was “like a carousel!”.
It is now Kukkapuro’s most successful chair. In 1974, the New York Times voted it as the most comfortable chair in the world.
You can see the Karuselli at Paramount - the top floor of Centrepoint, London, and Hotel Icon, Hong Kong. 145 of them.
You can buy the legendary Karuselli chair online from Wellworking here.