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Aalto A811

Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp Model A811, Valaistustyö
By Valaistustyö, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
This iconic floor lamp designed by Alvar Aalto comes with a leather stem, brass details and a white
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal, Brass

Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp Model A811, Valaistustyö
Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp Model A811, Valaistustyö
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H 63 in W 13 in D 17.33 in
Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp, Model A811, Valaistustyö, Finland 1950s
By Valaistustyö, Alvar Aalto
Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
Alvar Aalto model A811 floor lamp, produced by Valaistustyö, Finland 1950s. This original floor
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal, Brass

Floor Lamp A811 Designed by Alvar Aalto for Valaistustyö, Finland, 1950s
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Stockholm, SE
Cast iron, brass, lacquered metal and leather. Rare model. Alvar Aalto was a Finnish
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal, Iron

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Recent Sales

Floor Lamp by Alvar Aalto
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Model A811 - rare floor lamp in brass, white lacquered metal and black leather, 1960s. Maker
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Floor Lamp by Alvar Aalto
Floor Lamp by Alvar Aalto
H 63.39 in W 15.75 in D 21.66 in
Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Dronten, NL
Model A811 floor lamp in brass, white lacquered metal and black leather. Marked with label.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

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Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp
Alvar Aalto Floor Lamp
H 63.39 in W 21.66 in D 15.75 in
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Alvar Aalto for sale on 1stDibs

An architect and designer, Alvar Aalto deserves an immense share of the credit for bringing Scandinavian modernism and Nordic design to a prominent place in the global arena. In both his buildings and his vintage furniture — which ranges from chairs, stools, tables and lighting to table- and glassware — Aalto’s sensitivity to the natural world and to organic forms and materials tempered the hardness of rationalist design.

Relatively few Aalto buildings exist outside Finland. (Just four exist in the United States, and only one — the sinuous 1945 Baker House dormitory at M.I.T. — is easily visited.) International attention came to Aalto, whose surname translates to English as “wave,” primarily through his furnishings.

Instead of the tubular metal framing favored by the Bauhaus designers and Le Corbusier, Aalto insisted on wood. His aesthetic is best represented by the Paimio armchair, developed with his wife, Aino Aalto, in 1930 as part of the overall design of a Finnish tuberculosis sanatorium.

Comfortable, yet light enough to be easily moved by patients, the Paimio chair’s frame is composed of two laminated birch loops; the seat and back are formed from a single sheet of plywood that scrolls under the headrest and beneath the knees, creating a sort of pillow effect. Aalto’s use of plywood had an enormous influence on Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Breuer and others who later came to the material.

Concerned with keeping up standards of quality in the production of his designs, Aalto formed the still-extant company Artek in 1935, along with Aino, whose glass designs were made by the firm. In the latter medium, in 1936 the Aaltos together created the iconic, undulating Savoy vase, so-called for the luxe Helsinki restaurant for which the piece was designed.

Artek also produced Aalto pendants and other lighting designs, many of which — such as the Angel’s Wing floor lamp and the Beehive pendant — incorporate a signature Aalto detail: shades made of concentric enameled-metal rings graduated down in diameter. The effect of the technique is essential Alvar Aalto: at once precise, simple, and somehow poetic.

Find a collection of vintage Alvar Aalto stools, vases, dining tables and other furniture on 1stDibs.

A Close Look at Scandinavian Modern Furniture

Scandinavian modernism is perhaps the warmest and most organic iteration of modernist design. The work of the designers associated with vintage Scandinavian modern furniture was founded on centuries-old beliefs in both quality craftsmanship and the ideal that beauty should enhance even the humblest accessories of daily life.

ORIGINS OF SCANDINAVIAN MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN 

CHARACTERISTICS OF SCANDINAVIAN MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN

  • Bold, clean lines and simple, sturdy symmetries
  • Use of natural materials — native woods such as pine, ash and beech
  • Open, airy spaces
  • Promotion of functionality
  • Emphasis on craftsmanship; rooted in cabinetry profession and traditional construction techniques
  • Minimal ornamentation (little to no embellishment)
  • A neutral or light color palette owing to prominence of light woods

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNERS TO KNOW

ICONIC SCANDINAVIAN MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNS

VINTAGE SCANDINAVIAN MODERN FURNITURE ON 1STDIBS

The gentle, organic contours that are typical of Scandinavian design appear in the furnishings and decor created by Danish, Finnish and Swedish designers not as a stylistic gesture, but rather as a practical, ergonomic — and, as importantly, elegant — response to the human form.

Each nation produced exceptional talents in all areas of the applied arts, yet each had its forté. Sweden was home to Greta Magnusson Grossman and Bruno Mathsson — creators of the classic Grasshopper lighting series and Berlin daybed, respectively — but the country excelled most notably at ceramics. In the 1920s at the great Gustavsberg porcelain manufactory, Wilhelm Kåge introduced pieces in the Scandinavian style based on influences from folklore to Cubism; his skills were passed on to his versatile and inspired pupils Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg.

Likewise, Finland produced a truly ingenious Scandinavian modern furniture designer in the architect Alvar Aalto, a master at melding function and artistic form in works like the Paimio chair, created in collaboration with his first wife, Aino. Yet Finnish glassware was pre-eminent, crafted in expressive, sculptural designs by Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva.

The Danes excelled at chairs. Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen were exemplars of the country’s facility with wood, particularly teak

Wegner created such iconic pieces as the Round chair and the Wishbone chair; Jacobsen — while the revolutionary architect and furniture innovator produced the best-selling plywood Ant chair — designed two classic upholstered pieces of the 1950s: the Swan chair and Egg chair. The list of great Danes could go on and on, including Finn Juhl, a stylistic maverick and maker of the bold Chieftain chair; Poul Kjaerholm, with his lean metal-and-rattan aesthetic; and Verner Panton, who introduced a vibrant Pop note into international design.

Today, decades after their heyday, the prolific, ever-evolving Scandinavian modernists continue to amaze and delight, and interior designers all over the world use their pieces to bring warmth to any given space.

On 1stDibs, you will note both instantly recognizable vintage Scandinavian modern chairs, sofas, rugs and tables — those that have earned iconic status over time — and many new discoveries. 

Finding the Right floor-lamps for You

The modern floor lamp is an evolution of torchères — tall floor candelabras that originated in France as a revolutionary development in lighting homes toward the end of the 17th century. Owing to the advent of electricity and the introduction of new materials as a part of lighting design, floor lamps have taken on new forms and configurations over the years. 

In the early 1920s, Art Deco lighting artisans worked with dark woods and modern metals, introducing unique designs that still inspire the look of modern floor lamps developed by contemporary firms such as Luxxu

Popular mid-century floor lamps include everything from the enchanting fixtures by the Italian lighting artisans at Stilnovo to the distinctly functional Grasshopper floor lamp created by Scandinavian design pioneer Greta Magnusson-Grossman to the Paracarro floor lamp by the Venetian master glass workers at Mazzega. Among the more celebrated names in mid-century lighting design are Milanese innovators Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, who, along with their eldest brother, Livio, worked for their own firm as architects and designers. While Livio departed the practice in 1952, Achille and Pier Giacomo would go on to design the Arco floor lamp, the Toio floor lamp and more for legendary lighting brands such as FLOS

Today’s upscale interiors frequently integrate the otherworldly custom lighting solutions created by a wealth of contemporary firms and designers such as Spain’s Masquespacio, whose Wink floor lamps integrate gold as well as fabric fringes. 

Visual artists and industrial designers have a penchant for floor lamps, possibly because they’re so often a clever marriage of design and the functions of lighting. A good floor lamp can change the mood of any room while adding a touch of elegance to your entire space. Find yours now on 1stDibs.