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Alvar Aalto Furniture

Alvar Aalto (Finland, 1898–1976)

An architect and designer, Alvar Aalto deserves an immense share of the credit for bringing Scandinavian modernism to a prominent place in the global arena. In both his buildings and in his furnishings — which range from chairs, 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 furniture.


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 in 1930 as part of his overall design of a Finnish tuberculosis sanatorium. Comfortable, yet light enough to be easily moved by patients, the 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 at the headrest and beneath the knees, creating a sort of pillow effect. Aalto’s use of plywood had enormous influence on Charles 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 his wife, Aino Aalto, 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 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.

Iconic Designs from Alvar Aalto
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Stool 60
Stool 60
Angel Wing Floor Lamp
Angel Wing Floor Lamp
Beehive Pendant Light
Beehive Pendant Light
Golden Bell Pendant Light
Golden Bell Pendant Light
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1960s Bentwood Drawing Rack by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An uncommon birch bentwood drawing rack with four pairs of hooks.
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Birch, Birch

1950s Finnish Model A110 "Hand Grenade" Pendant Lamp by Alvar Aalto
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An early production "Hand Grenade" pendant, model no. A110, with a cylindrical form and retaining its original off-white lacquer. Sold individually.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Metal

1950s Finnish 'Golden Bell' Brass Ceiling Lamp by Alvar Aalto for Valaistustyo
By Alvar Aalto, Valaistustyö
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An early, original production of the iconic "Golden Bell" brass ceiling lamp. Model A330.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Brass

1950s Finnish Side Chair by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Birch

1950s Finnish Side Chair by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Birch

1930s Finnish "World's Fair" Table by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Maple, Teak

1940s Finnish Dining Chair by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1940s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Leather, Birch

1940s Finnish Set of Four Upholstered Dining Chairs by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1940s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Leather, Upholstery, Plywood

1970s Scandinavian Modern Desk Lamp by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Metal

Early Tank Chair by Alvar Aalto
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Birch

Armchair by Alvar Aalto
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1940s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Birch

1940s Finnish Birch Extention Table by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artex
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

1940s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Furniture

Materials

Birch

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1960s Bauhaus Inspired Wall Hook
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Category

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Located in Sagaponack, NY
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Early Tank Chair by Alvar Aalto
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Upholstery, Birch