Tapio Wirkkala arrived at Iittala in 1946 and served as an artist in residence until his death in 1985. During the 1950s Wirkkala created some of the most supremely elegant and sophisticated designs in glass. From the beginning he concentrated on art glass and his designs made the significant leap from useful object to pure art form. He exhibited at the Milan Triennales of 1951 and 1954 and won numerous awards for his work. Through this international success, Wirkkala established the Iittala factory as a leading producer of art glass on the world stage.