When the epic character that is Alvar Aalto dominated cultural life in Helsinki, in 1955 Ilmari Tapiovaara – the first Finnish non-architect designer who vindicated himself in said capacity – a superb expert in chairs and furniture, and then a master for many generations of other Finish non-architect designers, undertook the project of his only household lamp. His source of inspiration was Maya the Bee (German: Die Biene Maja), a friendly character from a 1912 children’s book, which gave rise to widely acclaimed comic strips and a Japanese television series, translated as Maija in Finland.
The Maija collection is an expression of the feeling of light that is common in the cities of the Baltic, where public street lamps are few and far between and instead private homes and shop windows shine their beams of light towards the public street: outwards. In light of the circumstances, Tapiovaara conceived a column of small metal superimposed discs from which the light hangs out from a shimmering honeycomb, shrouded in warm life. The discs were originally in a nude rose colour, subsequently white was produced and nowadays Santa & Cole offers both alternatives.
These surprising luminous objects – table, floor and pendant lamps – get out of all proportions when used several times in a row in the same setting.