Finnish icon Alvar Aalto helped popularize organic forms, natural materials, and intuitive functionality in architecture and design. His travels throughout Europe with his wife Aino Marsio in the 1920’s and 1930’s exposed him to modernism, a style in which he ultimately left a lasting impact.
Designing residences and public buildings, Aalto treated each structure as a work of art. He designed everything inside, including the furniture and lighting. His furniture work, always both aesthetically appealing and remarkably user-friendly, came to take on a life of its own. Artek was founded in 1935 to produce and market Aalto’s designs.
Aalto came to be associated with his preference for and experimentation in wood, a material that was profuse in Finland. His famous Paimio chair features a seat made of a single piece of undulating bent plywood. Aalto also produced work in glass; his curvilinear vases for Iittala are an icon. Aalto’s designs for stacking stools, chairs, tables, and more continue to be manufactured by Artek.