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Furniture Designer: Alvar Aalto

Aug 16, 2008
Not only was Alvar Aalto a well-known designer of furniture but he was also an architect and accomplished working with glassware and textiles. Among Scandinavian artisans he is often referred to as the "Father of Modernism." His furniture, textiles, and glassware creations, much like his architecture, offer a modern appeal that was well ahead of his time and remains attractive and appealing today.

In 1924 Alvar Aalto married Aino (Marsio) Aalto who began working for him that same year. While her role on his work is not widely known or understood it is believed that she concentrated more on interior designs and architecture rather than exterior architectural design. She is believed to have collaborated with Alvar Aalto on the design of the Savoy Vase in addition to being rather famous in her own right for her glass designs.

Alvar Aalto's Glasswork

The glasswork of Alvar Aalto was famous for its design elements, which allowed the users to determine what it was. Some might see a vase while others might see a bowl. Of course it is the Aalto vase that has become legendary and received worldwide acclaim, no matter what function it is ultimately used for.

Perhaps the most famous glasswork crafted by Alvar Aalto is the Savoy vase. The shape of this vase has become synonymous with Finnish design and the ultimate in sophistication. Around the world these vases are recognized and associated with Alvar Aalto and his glasswork. He has also created bowls, trays, and candleholders in styles that closely resemble the Savoy Vase.

There has been and remains to this day a great deal of speculation as to Alvar Aalto's inspiration behind the Savoy Vase. Common speculation leans toward an abstract representation of Finland's landscape while others believe it is based on a sketch entitled "The Eskimo Woman's Leather Breeches." Regardless of its origins, the Savoy Vase has made a lasting impression on the world at large and has become an icon of Finnish design.

Alvar Aalto Furniture

Moving from fire and glass to the world of wood, Alvar Aalto sought to learn all about wood and the fabric of the wood. As such, wood plays an integral role in the furniture that he created. Together with his wife, he formed Artek to create furniture according to his designs. Even today Artek remains loyal to the designs and values that Aalto prized so highly when he created the company in 1935.

The mainstay of furniture creations by Alvar Aalto were chairs, stools, and barstools. Simplicity was the rule rather than the exception with Alvar Aalto furniture designs, which greatly contrasted to the glasswork that he was so famous for. Where his architecture and glasswork offered twists and turns his furniture offered sleek lines and soft curves that are often associated with modern pieces.

While it is next to impossible to put your hands on Alvar Aalto original furniture pieces it is quite simple to order pieces created by Artek in the image of his design style. The furniture that is created today by Artek is loyal to the vision created by Aalto and offers some beautiful wood pieces that would be an excellent addition to almost any home whether the general style of decorating is modern or conventional.

The wood used in furniture designed by Alvar Aalto provides a little bit of a softer approach to modern design than the pieces by other modern designers. Many modern designers place a heavy emphasis on metals and other manufactured materials instead of wood for their furniture creations. The quality of Aalto's furniture is exceptional and the price, when you consider the fact that much of his furniture is hand crafted is surprisingly low for the quality and craftsmanship you receive.

Furniture that Aalto is most widely recognized for creating include: the Paimio Chair, the 3 Leg Stool 60, and the 3 Leg Stool X600. Of course these aren't the only items he created during his legendary career in the world of furniture design. There were other pieces including lighting features and other seating options that exemplified refined taste, elegance, style, and functionality.

Alvar Aalto Architecture

Not only was the design great a talented creator of inspiring furniture but also of amazing architecture. His impact on modern architecture around the world was profound. Not only did he change the way people viewed building and design but also managed to create architecture that captured the imagination.

More importantly he was able to help define the style that Finland, at the time a newly independent country, would be able to call its own. His style was closely matched by his ego, which it would seem today was well deserved. He was an architect and designer that had an amazing eye for detail and an almost limitless capacity to identify the trends that were to come.

Some of his most significant architectural achievements were the Bell Tower of Kauhajarvi Church, the Municipal Library in Viipuri, Finland, the Paimio Sanatorium in Paiimio, Finland, The Alto-Theater Opera House in Essen, Germany, the Helsinki University of Technology in Espoo, Finland, the Experimental House in Muuratsalo, Finland, and the Essen Opera House in Essen Germany. This is only a small sampling of the major accomplishments of his career in architecture.

Whether your interests in Alvar Aalto lie in his furniture creations, his architecture, or his glasswork, there is plenty to appreciate in his art forms. One thing that can be said about his career and life as an architect and designer: it was brilliant. Alvar Aalto represented his home of Finland quite well not only by local standards but on a worldwide stage as Finland was just beginning to be viewed as a sovereign nation.

His work continues to be the standard by which Finland is recognized. Even today you can find pieces of his furniture in museums around the world and imitations of his furniture in furniture stores around the world. His furniture and his architectural presence are accomplishments that have lived lifetimes far beyond the man who created them and are likely to be seen and enjoyed for several lifetimes to come.
About the Author
Mr.Nibbinsworth has been writing for Laytrad Contracts about cafe furniture and cafe chairs for several years off-line and has recently started to write online. Get a 5 year quality guarantee on all contract furniture including hotel furniture at http://www.laytrad.co.uk/
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