Have you ever heard of Alvar Aalto?
Um, Apple, perhaps? Ok, THAT got your attention. Read on and you’ll see why I asked.
Alvar Aalto (Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto, 1898-1976) was an architect born and raised in Finland. He began his career as an architect in the 1920s and designed some of the most beautiful, contemporary buildings in the world, incorporating and inspired by the elements of nature. See the list here.
After marrying Aino Marsio (also a Finnish architect) in 1924, however, he found himself spending more time as a product designer. Together, they began to experiment with bending wood (mostly birch, a very pliable wood) for furniture. This research led to a combination of veneer bonded with plywood, and some of the most innovative and modern designs of their time. This chair is one of his first designs using this process, and was originally designed for tuberculosis patients; the chair allowed for more comfort in breathing while sitting for long periods of time. Read more about this chair here.
Their work with these materials led to similar seating designs, which led to rave reviews from the public. So much so, that in 1935, Alvar and Aino started a company, Artek, to sell these pieces. Today, Artek is still manufacturing and selling Aalto’s original furniture designs. Ever sit at the Genius Bar in an Apple store? You were sitting on Alvar Aalto’s High Stool 64 that he designed in 1935.
One of the most famous designers in Finland, Alvar Aalto created beautifully simple, timeless, and functional pieces for the home and office with this wood technology. His organic, clever, and innovative designs easily make him one of the founding fathers of modern design, leading other designers to follow suit.
Pretty cool, eh? You probably thought those stools were from IKEA. *wink*
Read more about Alvar Aalto in this article.