Your Favorite Designers at Home: The Heralded Alvar Aalto’s Unassuming Helsinki Abode

published Feb 19, 2017
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(Image credit: Port)

Alvar Aalto, the Finnish architect and designer of the ubiquitous 3-legged stool (that spawned a perhaps even more ubiquitous IKEA knockoff), was also the creator of a lovely, very modern and yet very cozy, home on the outskirts of Helsinki. Often, the homes designers create for themselves tend toward the grandiose, but this one could be appropriately classified as humble, even subtle. In its melding of private and public spaces, indoors and out, it reflects the very best of what modern architecture can be.

(Image credit: OEN)

In 1935, Aalto purchased a piece of land outside Helsinki and began building his house and studio, a live/work space that embodied, on a large scale, the same simplicity and warmth he brought to his designs. The main living spaces were located on the first floor, with the bedrooms on the second; an L-shaped wing was devoted to the studio, with a second-level gallery above.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Life in Sketch)

Sliding doors between the living room and studio space enabled the private and public parts of the home to connect to one another. The studio (seen above via Life in Sketch) served as Aalto’s architectural office for 20 years, until his practice outgrew the space and he moved to a new, larger office a short distance away.

(Image credit: Port)
(Image credit: Cate St. Hill)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Scattered throughout the home are familiar Aalto designs, gifts from his designer friends (including a painting by Le Corbusier), and prototypes of pieces that never made it to market. The house functions as a sort of showroom for Aalto’s designs, but it is, first and foremost, a warm and unassuming family home.

(Image credit: Urbipedia)
(Image credit: Urbipedia)

To read more, and see many more photos of the home, check out:

Aalto’s House, Riihitie, Helsinki from Cate St. Hill

Casa Aalto on Urbipedia

The Aalto Family Home, Studio & Laboratory from Apartment Therapy