Degree, Industrial Art Institute, Helsinki. Doctor of Philosophy (honorary), Royal College Art, 1971.
His work ranges from plastic ketchup bottles and metalware to glass, ceramics and plywood in a range of styles. He designed the Finnish markka banknotes introduced in 1955. His range was immense, designing glassware, stoneware, jewelry, and furniture for mass production, as well as individual sculptures in several media.
Among his most famous works have been the design for the Finlandia vodka bottle (1970-2000) and for Iittala"s Ultima Thule set of kitchen glasses.
Both glassware items feature a dripping icicle look, and in the case of Iittala"s popular glassware it is said to have taken thousands of hours to develop a glassblowing technique that would produce the effect. Wirkkala did much of his initial design work using a traditional Finnish carving knife, the puukko.
Wirkkala designed his own version of the knife. The Tapio Wirkkala Puukko was built by Hackman Cutlery and marketed by Brookstone in the United States in the early 70"son
1st and 2nd place, Bill Designing Competition of Bank of Finland 1947.
Honorary Member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London 1971.
Married Rut Bryk Wirkkala, 1945. 2 children.