Designer of the Month - Master of Functionalism Alvar Aalto

Kuukauden suunnittelija - Funktionalismin mestari Alvar Aalto

Alvar Aalto is a pioneer of Finnish design and architecture. He is best known for his functional architecture and design, as well as his innovative plywood and glass techniques. He was a multi-disciplinary design genius whose legacy extends widely into Finnish and international architecture as well as design. Aalto's greatest inspiration was nature and its organic design.

Alvar and Aino Aalto

Together with his wife Aino Aalto, Alvar created furniture that reflected Scandinavian modernism, with a particular focus on the elegant simplicity of wood. The furniture designed by the Aalto's was part of a broader vision in which the space and its objects formed a harmonious whole. Aino was responsible for the interiors of all the buildings designed by Alvar.

Aino and Alvar Aalto 

In 1935 Aalto founded Artek together with Aino, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The company's name, the neologism Artek, symbolises the desire to combine art and technology. The establishment of Artek was a natural step in the Aalto's career, as it enabled them to produce and distribute their furniture not only in their own buildings but also to a wider audience. Artek's original aim was to promote the sale of furniture and glassware designed by the Aalto family, to bring art into everyday life, to bring modernism to Finland and to export Alvar Aalto's Nordic vision of these principles to the world.

Bent plywood
At the heart of Aalto's furniture design was his method of manufacturing bent plywood, which revolutionised the furniture industry and enabled the mass production that Aalto was aiming for in the early 1930s. Aalto's most famous pieces of furniture include the Tankki chair (armchair 400), the Paimio chair (No 41), the Model 60 stool and the Armchair 42 (formerly No 31), which represent a masterly combination of functionality and design.

Finnish design on the world stage
The story of Aalto and Artek is the story of how Finnish design rose to world fame. Artek has preserved Aalto's legacy, continuing to produce timeless furniture designed by Alvar while introducing new designs into its range. Aalto furniture continues to be popular for its functionality, design and quality. They are an example of how innovation and tradition can go hand in hand, creating furniture that will stand the test of time and provide aesthetic and functional pleasure to its users for generations to come.

You can find several pieces of Aalto -stools in the Fargo collection

Aalto's most famous designs

Alvar Aalto's most important pieces of furniture include several iconic designs that have made him famous around the world. The Paimio chair (model 41) was designed in 1932 as part of the interior of the Paimio tuberculosis sanatorium. The chair was chosen as part of the interior design of the sanatorium's social hall and its formal language blends well with the architecture of the sanatorium. Aalto's other well-known design is the Savoy vase, also known as the Aalto vase. It was originally designed for the 1937 Paris World Fair, when Alvar won the Karhula-Iittala design competition. It takes its name from a restaurant of the same name in Helsinki, whose interior was designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto in the same year as the Paris World's Fair.

The Paimio- armchair in Fargo's commercial film

Alvar Aalto tested the limits of plywood production in the early 1930s. This sofa resembles the sculptural Paimio chair. Sofa model 544. (SOLD)

Savoy -vase, Alvar Aalto, (Photo: Google)

Stools designed by Aalto, such as the famous Model 60 stool, are masterpieces of modern design in their simplicity and functionality. The stool is designed to stack and store efficiently, making it ideal for public spaces such as the Vyborg Library, designed by Aalto, where the stools were used as additional seating in the library's lecture hall.

This furniture not only highlights Aalto's ability to combine form and function, but also reflects his desire to create a human-centred and organic design. Aalto's furniture has remained relevant and sought after generation after generation.

Model 60 stools (3 pieces), Alvar Aalto, Oy Huonekalu- ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab, 1950s

Fargo's selection includes a lot of furniture designed by Alvar Aalto, some of the more famous ones, as well as rarities. In particular, you can find Aalto in the Fargo Design collection. 

Check out the latest treasures from our collection!


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