Alvar Aalto

Designer Dossier

Designer: Alvar Aalto, 1898 - 1976
From: Finland

Alvar Aalto is known for his humanistic approach to modern architecture; not just the structure, but every detail inside is considered to best serve the user. Growing from that philosophy, his signature bent plywood furniture and curvy vases became the cornerstones for modern organic and Scandinavian design.

Facts:

• Faucets in Aalto's Paimio Sanatorium were designed to be noiseless to avoid disturbing patients.
• To keep up with production of his popular furniture designs, he co-founded Artek in 1935.
• While teaching at MIT, Aalto designed the student dormitory Baker House.
• Since he was one of Finland's most important figures, if Aalto was late for a Finnair flight, they'd hold the plane. He enjoyed this so much that even in the rare occasions he was on time, Aalto would circle the airport until he could make a grand entrance.

Quote: Building art is a synthesis of life in materialised form. We should try to bring in under the same hat not a splintered way of thinking, but all in harmony together.

Attended: Helsinki University of Technology

Known for: Bent plywood, organic curves, humanistic design

Representative Pieces Shown Above: (left to right)

1) Paimio Chair, 1932, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art
2) Stool 60, 1933, via Artek
3) Savoy Vase, 1937, via Iittala
4) Tea Trolley 901, 1936, via Wikimedia Commons
5) Timeline of Aalto furniture via Artek

Aalto On the Web:

Wikipedia
Design Museum
Artek
Iittala
Alvar Aalto Museo
Museum of Modern Art

(Images: as credited above)