Esko Pajamies, Polar & Pele

Teksti Tiina Tahkokorpi Kuvat Riikka Kantinkoski & Lepo Archive

Esko Pajamies (1931-1990) graduated as an Interior Architect from the Department of Interior Design at the Academy of Applied Arts in 1954. Pajamies specialized in furniture design early on. Pajamies designed for several domestic manufacturers, e.g. plastic furniture for public spaces and homes for Asko, Merivaara and Upo plastic factory together with Eero Aarnio. Pajamies designed the first furniture series for Lepokalusto in 1965, and the productive collaboration continued throughout the 70s.

Known and awarded for its successful collections, Pajamies managed time and time again to be a trend changer of new design language. The traces of his hand gave birth to, among other things, solid wood Bonanza sofa (1968), Koivutaru (1974) bent from domestic wood, the slightly rarer Prima Ballerina rocking chair (1962) and the extensive Hopeasiipi collection (1968-69), which Pajamies designed for the brand new Helsinki Airport, which was completed in 1969 in view of.

Among the furniture sets produced by Lepokalusto, Pele became especially popular as home furniture, and the Juju lounge chair was the chair of the year in Avotakka’s public competition in 1972, not forgetting the Julia, Poolo, Barbarella, Zorbas sofa and the Saluuna wooden chair. Pajamies open-minded design was strongly marked by durability and functionality implemented with insightful technical solutions.

The story of Lepo and Pajamie began with the distinctive Polar furniture series, which included chairs, bar stools, lounge chairs, sofas and coffee tables. The Polar collection Lepo returned to production in 2018. Lepo collection's classic from the 70s, Pele lounge chair will be relaunched during the 3daysofdesign event at the Finnish Embassy in Copenhagen on 13th of June 2024.