Side Gallery

Alvar Aalto

Alvar Aalto

Born in Finland, Alvar Aalto was one of the most representative architects of the 20th century. While he was most famous for his architecture, his furniture designs were well thought of and are still popular today. He studied Josef Hoffmann and worked under Eliel Saarinen. During the late 1920s and 1930s he, working closely with Aino Aalto, Aalto also focused a lot of his energy on furniture design, partly due to the decision to design much of the individual furniture pieces and lamps for the Paimio Sanatorium. Of particular significance was the experimentation in bent plywood chairs, most notably the so­called Paimio chair, which had been designed for the sitting tuberculosis patient. The Aaltos, together with visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils­Gustav Hahl founded the Artek company in 1935, ostensibly to sell Aalto products, but also other imported products. He became the first furniture designer to use the cantilever principle in chair design using wood.