Alvar Aalto Chair

Alvar Aalto Chair

Alvar Aalto Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is probably the most famous Finnish architect and designer in the world. In 1921 Alvar Aalto got the Diploma of Architecture at the Helsinki Institute of Technology and his career as an architect started. One of the most important works he was commissioned was the planning of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Paimio, Finland. This project meant also the beginning of Aalto’s career as a furniture designer – in fact this was the first building planned by Aalto which was entirely furnished with pieces of furniture designed by Aalto himself – including the lighting as well. Other important projects completed by Alvar Aalto are the Viipuri Municipal Library, Villa Mairea, La Maison Carré and the Finnish Pavilions for the 1937 Paris and 1939 New York World Fairs. In 1935 Alvar Aalto, together with Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl, founded Artek, a world renowned furniture and lighting company. The company was created “to sell furniture” – designed by Alvar Aalto – “and to promote modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other means”. One of the most ingenious innovations by Alvar Aalto is the L-leg, patented in 1933. Aalto considered his L-leg design his greatest achievement and even compared it to the invention of the architectonic column. Thanks to this innovation, the legs could be attached directly to the table, chair and stool tops. Alvar Aalto was a versatile designer whose work covered different fields. He is well-known also for his elegant lamps, which very often were designed for individual construction projects and later on adapted for the serial production. Alvar Aalto was also an esteemed glass designer and his most famous work as a glass designer is the Aalto vase – one of the most iconic glassware pieces in Finnish design.
alvar aalto chair 1

Alvar Aalto Chair

This project meant also the beginning of Aalto’s career as a furniture designer – in fact this was the first building planned by Aalto which was entirely furnished with pieces of furniture designed by Aalto himself – including the lighting as well. Other important projects completed by Alvar Aalto are the Viipuri Municipal Library, Villa Mairea, La Maison Carré and the Finnish Pavilions for the 1937 Paris and 1939 New York World Fairs. In 1935 Alvar Aalto, together with Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl, founded Artek, a world renowned furniture and lighting company. The company was created “to sell furniture” – designed by Alvar Aalto – “and to promote modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other means”. One of the most ingenious innovations by Alvar Aalto is the L-leg, patented in 1933. Aalto considered his L-leg design his greatest achievement and even compared it to the invention of the architectonic column. Thanks to this innovation, the legs could be attached directly to the table, chair and stool tops. Alvar Aalto was a versatile designer whose work covered different fields. He is well-known also for his elegant lamps, which very often were designed for individual construction projects and later on adapted for the serial production. Alvar Aalto was also an esteemed glass designer and his most famous work as a glass designer is the Aalto vase – one of the most iconic glassware pieces in Finnish design.
alvar aalto chair 2

Alvar Aalto Chair

The Aaltos designed and built a joint house-office (1935–36) for themselves in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, but later (1954–56) had a purpose-built office erected in the same neighbourhood – nowadays the former is a “home museum” and the latter the premises of the Alvar Aalto Academy. In 1926 the young Aaltos designed and had built for themselves a summer cottage in Alajärvi, Villa Flora. Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949. Aino and Alvar Aalto had 2 children, a daughter Johanna “Hanni” Alanen, born Aalto, 1925, and a son Hamilkar Aalto, 1928. In 1952 Aalto married architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (died 1994), who had been working as an assistant in his office. In 1952 Aalto designed and had built a summer cottage, the so-called Experimental House, for himself and his new wife in Muuratsalo in Central Finland. Alvar Aalto died on 11 May 1976, in Helsinki, and is buried in the Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki. His wife and the office employees continued the works of the office which were still in progress. In 1978 the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki arranged a major exhibition of Aalto’s works.
alvar aalto chair 3

Alvar Aalto Chair

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (pronounced ; 3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976) was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware, as well as sculptures and paintings, though he never regarded himself as an artist, seeing painting and sculpture as “branches of the tree whose trunk is architecture.” Aalto’s early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family. The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism of the early work, to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards. What is typical for his entire career, however, is a concern for design as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art; whereby he – together with his first wife Aino Aalto – would design not just the building, but give special treatments to the interior surfaces and design furniture, lamps, and furnishings and glassware. His furniture designs are considered Scandinavian Modern, in the sense of a concern for materials, especially wood, and simplification but also technical experimentation, which led to him receiving patents for various manufacturing processes, such as bent wood. The Alvar Aalto Museum, designed by Aalto himself, is located in what is regarded as his home city Jyväskylä.
alvar aalto chair 4

Alvar Aalto Chair

More about Aalto FurnitureAlvar Aalto made his international breakthrough as a furniture designer. Aalto wished to learn “the language of wood fibres” and believed that there is a positive effect when our skin comes into contact with natural materials.In 1935, Aino and Alvar Aalto founded the Finnish company Artek to manufacture their designs. Today, Artek remains faithful to the Aaltos’ basic values as their master craftspeople continue to produce Aalto designs in Finland with high quality natural materials.Aalto Furniture Care Instructions
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Alvar Aalto Chair

Admired as much for its sculptural presence as for its comfort, the Paimio Chair is a tour de force in bentwood that seems to test the limits of plywood manufacturing. The chair's framework consists of two closed loops of laminated wood, forming arms, legs, and floor runners, between which rides the seat—a thin sheet of plywood tightly bent at both top and bottom into sinuous scrolls, giving it greater resiliency. Inspired by Marcel Breuer's tubular-steel Wassily Chair of 1927—28, Aalto chose, instead, native birch for its natural feel and insulating properties, and developed a more organic form.The Paimio Chair, the best-known piece of furniture designed by Aalto, is named for the town in southwestern Finland for which Aalto designed a tuberculosis sanatorium and all its furnishings. Used in the patients' lounge, the angle of the back of this armchair was intended to help sitters breathe more easily.Aalto's bentwood furniture had a great influence on the American designers Charles and Ray Eames and the Finnish-born Eero Saarinen. In 1935 the Artek company was established in Finland to mass-produce and distribute wood furniture designed by Aalto and his wife, Aino. Most of their designs remain in production. Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999
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Alvar Aalto Chair

Alvar Aalto Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was born in Finland. Thanks to his original style and unique talents, Aalto is one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design. During his career, he designed many buildings in different parts of the world: concert halls, libraries, hospitals, museums, and private homes, including the Villa Mairea. His furniture and lamps, often starting out as a part of the buildings he designed, are produced together with Finnish Artek.
alvar aalto chair 7

Alvar Aalto Chair

During the 1930s Alvar spent some time experimenting with laminated wood, making sculptures, and abstract reliefs, characterized by irregular curved forms. Utilizing this knowledge he was able to solve technical problems concerning the flexibility of wood and also of working out spatial issues in his designs. Aalto’s early experiments with wood and his move away from a purist modernism would be tested in built form with the commission to design Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, the luxury home of the young industrialist couple Harry and Maire Gullichsen. It was Maire Gullichsen who acted as the main client, and she worked closely not only with Alvar but also Aino Aalto on the design, inspiring them to be more daring in their work. The original design was to include a private art gallery, but this was never built. The building forms a U-shape around a central inner “garden” the central feature of which is a kidney-shaped swimming pool. Adjacent to the pool is a sauna executed in a rustic style, alluding to both Finnish and Japanese precedents. The design of the house is a synthesis of numerous stylistic influences, from traditional Finnish vernacular to purist modernism, as well as influences from English and Japanese architecture. While the house is clearly intended for a wealthy family, Aalto nevertheless argued that it was also an experiment that would prove useful in the design of mass housing.

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