Cooper Hewitt says...

Timo Sarpaneva (Finnish, 1926 – 2006) trained as a graphic designer at the Central School of Industrial Design (now the University of Arts and Design) in Helsinki. In 1948, the year of his graduation, he won second prize in the Riihimäki Glass Design Contest, second only to his professor, Arttu Brummer. In 1950, he began working for Iittala Glassworks, and soon won his first international recognition in glasswork, a Grand Prix from the Milan Triennale in 1954 for his series Orkidea (Orchid), Kajakki (Kayak), and Lansetti (Lancet). Sarpaneva introduced color to Iittala, with lines like the i-linja (i-line) plates, bottles, and other objects, which won him his second Grand Prix at the 1957 Milan Triennale, where he also received a Grand Prix for his design of the Finnish exhibition. He also created the company’s logo, a white, lower-case letter i in a red circle, which is still in use today.
Sarpaneva maintained a creative relationship with Iittala for most of his productive life, going on to create the Finlandia line of “bark glass” – mass-produced pieces that are nevertheless each unique. Glass heated to 500 °C was blown into wooden molds and allowed to remain long enough for the molds to burn. Gradually, the molds were destroyed through repeated contact with the molten glass. The changing surface gave each piece a natural randomized "bark" effect created by the carbonized wood.
Establishing his own office in 1962, Sarpeneva extended his design work to include porcelain, wood, metal, and textiles. He created designs for PMK (Puuvillatehtaitten myyntikonttori, Cotton Mills' Sales Office), Marimekko, and Tampella, and acted as an artistic director for the Swedish textile company Kinnasand between 1964 and 1972.
Sarpeneva was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland in 1958, in part due to his success at the Milan Triennale, where he received a silver medal in 1951, and three Grand Prix in 1954 and 1957. An esteemed teacher, he has received numerous honorary doctorates. His work is included in art and design museums around the globe.