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Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Many of the most important works by acclaimed Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto can be attributed to a single design element: the L-leg. The L-shaped design allowed legs to be attached directly to Aalto’s sophisticated tables and seating, without the need for a connecting joint. This innovation, which he called “the little sister of the architectural column,” characterized the designer’s penchant for simple, easily adaptable furniture pieces, such as the side tables, coffee tables and dining tables he created, which straddled elegance and simplicity.

Developed in partnership with furniture manufacturer Otto Korhonen and patented in 1933, the L-shaped leg — the result of Aalto’s experimentation with bending birchwood, a pioneering technique at the time — would become a hallmark of tables, stools (see his iconic Stool 60), benches and chairs that Aalto designed and produced through his company, Artek, which he cofounded in 1935 with his wife and designer Aino, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The company quickly found success selling streamlined, modern furniture both in Finland and, thanks to a growing interest in Nordic furniture outside Scandinavia, internationally, including the UK where many early Artek pieces were imported by the company Finmar.

Like much of his furniture, most of Aalto’s tables, especially early models, are constructed either fully or in part with birch, which the designer referred to as a “form-inspiring, deeply human material.” The flexibility of his L-leg design allowed for easily interchangeable combinations of tabletops. It also standardized the design process for multiple shapes, with the same bentwood L-legs attached to round, square or rectangular tops for a variety of table models. This look is a hallmark of Aalto’s style — and, indeed, of mid-century Scandinavian modern design in general. It has been frequently riffed on and copied throughout the ensuing decades, though Artek still produces Aalto’s original designs.

Find a wide range of vintage Alvar Aalto tables on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Alvar Aalto
Square Birch Table by Alvar Aalto
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in London, GB
A square table with laminated, L-shaped legs. Designed by Alvar Aalto and manufactured by Artek, the furniture company founded by Aalto in Helsinki in 1935, during the late 1940s- ea...
Category

1940s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto Rare Writing Table from Otaniemi Technical University, 1960s
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, Uusimaa
Rare writing table, designed by Alvar Aalto, 1960s. Birch with linoleum table top. Later modified with the reading lamp. The writing table is from the Otaniemi Technical University. ...
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1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Metal

Alvar Aalto Mahogany Desk for Artek with Drawers and Pull Out Work Surfaces
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Chicago, IL
The model #500 mahogany desk designed by Alvar Aalto, made in Sweden for Artek, Finland. Six drawers with two pull-out work surface boards. A nice example...
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1940s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Mahogany

Desk, Alvar Aalto, Artek, 1950/1960s
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Helsinki, Uusimaa
Desk, design Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Artek, 1950/1960s. Teak table top with painted wood drawers. Good vintage condition, patina and wear consistent with age and use. Alvar Aa...
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1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Wood, Teak

Very Rare Aino Aalto Vanity Desk Model 191, 1930s
By Artek, Huonekalu-Ja Rakennustyötedas Oy, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
Over half a century later, from its original days of manufacturing, this dressing table designed by Alvar Aalto is still extremely hard to come by. This particular piece comes with m...
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1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Mirror, Birch

Vintage Functionalist Desk by Alvar Aalto, Artek, Finland, 1930s
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Stockholm, SE
Desk by Alvar Aalto made from birch with original green top. Lovely, clean lines. Neat size, small drawer to the left.
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1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Alva Alato Table Red Lacquer Table Top, 1930
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Hamburg, DE
Very early desk, writing table by Alva Aalto, circa 1930, red lacquer tabletop, birch, bentwood, table size 182 cm x 90 cm x 72 cm.
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1930s Finnish Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch, Bentwood

Alvar Aalto 60's Beech Desk and White Drawer
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Tomi, Nagano
Alvar aalto design beachtop desk and drawer set in white paint. You can expect yellowing to amber in the future, and it has a beautiful aging feeling.  
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1960s Finnish Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Beech, Birch

Functionalist Birch Desk by Alvar Aalto for Artek, Finland, 1930s
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Stockholm, SE
Striking desk by Alvar Aalto, made from birch in a compact functionalist design. Drawers to the right and a filing cabinet to the left with a jalousie door. Ink spots inside the t...
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1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Related Items
Alvar Aalto Table Model 81B, Red Linoleum surface.
By Artek, Huonekalu-Ja Rakennustyötedas Oy, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
Alvar Aalto rectangular L-leg table in red linoleum top, manufactured by Oy Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab and retailed by Artek since the 1930s. Alvar Aalto designs are famous ...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto foldable table In Blue Linoleum, Artek 1950s
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
Alvar Aalto foldable table in birch with beautiful blue linoleum surface, designed by Alvar Aalto and manufactured by Artek in the 1950s. The materials used by Artek were very duarbl...
Category

1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

An Alvar Aalto Dining Table Model 92, 1940s, Artek
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
This is a beautiful extending table model 92 by Alvar Aalto from 1940s. The body of the table is solid birch. The surface of the table is laminated by oak veneer. An extension leaf t...
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1940s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch, Oak

Alvar Aalto Side Table Model A 86 for Artek, 1930s
By Artek, Oy Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
This small size side table can be used in any room, and for a variety of purposes. The shelf feature makes it perfect as an arm chair or reading space side table. The vintage honey l...
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1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Dining Table/Desk Made In Beechwood By Alvar Aalto From 1960s
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Lejre, DK
This versatile beech wood dining table/desk combines functionality with timeless elegance. The tabletop is covered with linoleum, which gives a durable and stylish appearance. Desig...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Beech

Desk French Style Writing Desk, Black Lacquer with Grey Leather Writing Surface
By Selva
Located in Toronto, CA
We present a beautifully finished desk made in Italy by Selva in cherry wood, with a leather writing surface. This item has been recently re-stained by our expert team in a black lac...
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20th Century Italian Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Leather, Cherry

1960s Danish Teak Writing Desk
Located in Praha, CZ
- Item has been carefully refurbished
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Wood, Teak

1960s Danish Teak Writing Desk
1960s Danish Teak Writing Desk
H 28.75 in W 58.67 in D 29.93 in
Vintage Aalto Table Round (Table 91) by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Centreville, VA
The Aalto Table conveys a relaxed familiarity that resists categorisation. With legs and edge-bands of Finnish birch, it radiates natural beauty and warmth, moving easily between p...
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Bentwood

Model Y805B Glass Coffee Table, Alvar Aalto, Artek, 1970s
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, Uusimaa
Model Y805B glass coffee table, designed by Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Artek, 1970s. Y805B painted birch frame with later added glass top. Good vintage condition, minor patina cons...
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1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Glass, Birch, Paint

Side Table By Alvar Aalto for Artek Finland
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Turku, FI
Spectacularly colored little table By Alvar Aalto For Artek Finland. Iconic L-leg Design. Re-Painted by a professional at some point. No original color...
Category

Late 20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Side Table By Alvar Aalto for Artek Finland
Side Table By Alvar Aalto for Artek Finland
H 21.26 in W 23.63 in D 23.63 in
Executive Desk, Corner Desk in Mahogany, Germany, 1970's
By Johannes Andersen, Arne Vodder
Located in Wiesbaden, DE
Beautifully designed writing desk in teak. With a very distinct design this desks every wood surface has been given specific angles such as the tabletop, the unit with drawers as wel...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Scandinavian Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Metal

Midcentury Alvar Aalto Blonde Birch Bentwood Leg Coffee Table or Bench
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
Midcentury coffee or cocktail table or Bench by Finnish architect and designer Alvar Allto. Stands on 4 birch bentwood legs and table top surface rectang...
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Wood, Birch, Bentwood

Previously Available Items
Alvar Aalto, rare 1930s table, model 96
By Oy Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab, Alvar Aalto
Located in Turku, Varsinais-Suomi
In the annals of design history, the 1930s marked a transformative period where modernism emerged as a powerful force, reshaping the way we perceive and interact with the world aroun...
Category

Early 20th Century Finnish Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto, rare 1930s table, model 96
Alvar Aalto, rare 1930s table, model 96
H 28.35 in W 45.28 in D 28.35 in
Rare Narrow Alvar Aalto Table with Lino Top
By Alvar Aalto
Located in London, GB
This writing desk or kitchen table is a fine example of designer Alvar Aalto’s bentwood furniture design, produced by his Artek workshop. The unusually narrow proportions of the piece, suggest this was a bespoke commission for a private collector. Made late 1930s, early 1940s. Alvar Aalto (1898 - 1976), was a significant contributor of the International Style architectural movement since the opening on his firm in 1923. Working in collaboration with his first wife, architect Aino Marsio, they sought to create gersamkunstwerks - total works of art in which his designs would produce integrated spaces stimulating all senses. His intention was to design furniture recognisably modern, human - but most significantly, Finnish. Through his use of local birch wood in his furniture, Aalto imbued his designs with a warmth through curvilinear form. Focussing on the human through analysing the social implications of his designs, his humanist mode of practice inspired the likes of American designers Charles and Ray Eames, and George Nelson. This vintage example displays beautifully his innovative bent-wood L leg, developed alongside Otto Korhonen...
Category

1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Plastic, Laminate, Birch

Rare Narrow Alvar Aalto Table with Lino Top
Rare Narrow Alvar Aalto Table with Lino Top
H 28.35 in W 60.04 in D 23.82 in
Rare Alvar Aalto Children's Table for Artek 1960s
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, Uusimaa
Alvar Aalto children's table for Artek from the 1960s. Lacquered birch and linoleum surface. Rare yellow colour. Good vintage condition, minor wear cons...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch, Lacquer

Alvar Aalto L Leg Round Table
By Alvar Aalto, Artek, ICF Group
Located in Sheffield, MA
Alvar Aalto iconic Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern round table with birch L legs and contrasting black table top. 39.25" round. Table marked ICF, the retailer an...
Category

1980s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto L-Leg Table for Artek Finland - Solid Birch & White Laminate Top
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Turku, FI
The solid birch Artek table designed by Alvar Aalto seamlessly combines the standard L-leg typical for Aalto’s furniture design and a white tabletop. Due to the timeless design of th...
Category

1980s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Laminate, Birch

Alvar Aalto Birch Dining or Writing Table with Blue Top
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in New York, NY
A fine example of bauhaus design by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, this birch bent leg table has the original and no longer available blue linoleum top dating it to the later 1950s. It is bent Birch wood with a blue linoleum top and measures 48 inches wide, 29.5 inches deep and 28 inches high. The table show wear with some small white paint splatters on the surface and some wear. Structurally very sound and overall very good condition. Original and untouched as found with a light cleaning. Set of three E60...
Category

1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Bentwood, Birch

Alvar Aalto, Rare Rectangular Dining Table / Desk, Made at O.Y.Huonekalu, 1930s
By O.Y.Huonekalu, Alvar Aalto
Located in Odense, DK
An early rare dining table in a lacquered birch. Designed by Alvar Aalto for O.Y. Huonekalu- ja Rakennustyötehdas A.B in Finland. Made in the early 1930s. A true collectible item fro...
Category

Early 20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Very Rare Aino Aalto Vanity Desk Model 191
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Helsinki, FI
Over half a century later, from its original days of manufacturing, this dressing table designed by Alvar Aalto and made by Artek, is extremely hard to come by anymore. This particul...
Category

1930s Finnish Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Mirror, Birch

Very Rare Aino Aalto Vanity Desk Model 191
Very Rare Aino Aalto Vanity Desk Model 191
H 28.35 in W 41.74 in D 19.69 in
Alvar Aalto Desk and Chair Model 65, made by Artek, Finland in the 1960s
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Odense, DK
Alvar Aalto work table and chair model 65 in wonderful vintage condition made at Artek in the 1960s. Table is made of laminated elm and the chair is made of birch. Original wool upho...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch, Elm

Alvar Aalto Measuring Table, circa 1960
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Measuring table designed by Alvar Aalto, circa 1950. Manufactured in Finland by Artek. Stamped with Helsinki City Stamp. Lacquered birch with linoleum. In good original co...
Category

1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Wood

Alvar Aalto Measuring Table, circa 1960
Alvar Aalto Measuring Table, circa 1960
H 4.73 in W 40.56 in D 21.66 in
1940s Finnish Birch Extention Table by Alvar Aalto for Artek
By Alvar Aalto, Artex
Located in Sagaponack, NY
A rectangular extension dining table with a laminated birch top and solid bentwood legs, having two (2) self storing 19.5" leaves. ...
Category

1940s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Birch

Rare Alvar Aalto Yellow Linoleum Table
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Copenhagen K, DK
Alvar Aalto table in rare color yellow linoleum. Designed in 1933.
Category

1950s Finnish Vintage Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables

Materials

Pine

Rare Alvar Aalto Yellow Linoleum Table
H 27.96 in W 47.25 in D 29.53 in

Alvar Aalto desks and writing tables for sale on 1stDibs.

Alvar Aalto desks and writing tables are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Alvar Aalto desks and writing tables, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original desks and writing tables by Alvar Aalto were created in the Scandinavian Modern style in europe during the 20th century. Prices for Alvar Aalto desks and writing tables can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $1,866 and can go as high as $11,533, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $5,344.
Questions About Alvar Aalto Desks and Writing Tables
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 1, 2024
    Alvar Aalto is known for bringing Scandinavian modernism and Nordic design to global prominence. In his designs for buildings and furniture, Aalto's sensitivity to the natural world and to organic forms and materials tempered the hardness of rationalist design. One of his most famous pieces is the Paimio armchair, which he designed in 1930 for a Finnish tuberculosis sanatorium. Comfortable yet light enough to be easily moved by patients, the Paimio chair's frame is made 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 pillow effect. Aalto's use of plywood had an enormous influence on Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Breuer and many others. On 1stDibs, shop an assortment of Alvar Aalto furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 13, 2024
    The style most commonly associated with Alvar Aalto is Scandinavian modern. As an architect and designer, 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, Aalto's sensitivity to the natural world and organic forms and materials tempered the hardness of rationalist design, as is indicative of Scandinavian modern pieces. On 1stDibs, shop a collection of Alvar Aalto furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2024
    The Paimio chair, designed by Alvar Aalto, is a type of armchair created in 1932. Also called the Armchair 41, it was intended to help people breathe easier and was designed for a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Finnish city of Paimio. For the chair's frame, Aalto and his wife, Aino, opted to use Finland's native birchwood, which is strong and inexpensive and felt warmer and more organic than the tubular steel found in similarly shaped pieces. Laminated wood loops form the arms, legs and a pair of flat skids, while its sculptural seat and back are built from a single piece of thin plywood. Shop a variety of Alvar Aalto Paimio chairs on 1stDibs.

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