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Stool 60
Iconic Designs

Stool 60

About the Design

Although Finnish architect and furniture maker Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) was recognized early in his career for his decorative interiors and innovative building concepts, his functional wood furniture reflected a simplicity that extended even to his marketing copy. “One chair is enough” is one such slogan attributed to him today. While the renowned designs he produced with his first wife Aino for a tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio included tubular steel, Aalto eventually distanced himself from the material, differing from peers such as Marcel Breuer in that he favored working with organic materials, having deemed wood “form-inspiring” and “deeply human.” The stackable Stool 60, made of cost-effective solid birch and birch plywood, is emblematic of that approach.

In the mid- to late-1920s, with the support of fellow woodworker Otto Korhonen at a furniture factory in Turku, Finland — a densely forested country where birch trees and lumber suppliers are plentiful — Aalto developed the “bent-knee” technique for making furniture. It involves a solid piece of birch soaked and softened in water and then sawed open in the direction of the wood grain. Afterward, thin slats of wood are glued into the grooves, and the wood is heated so that it becomes malleable. The bent-knee process, which has changed little since its inception, yielded the “L-leg” that Aalto initially had in mind for his Stool 60. Three L-legs were mounted to the underside of the flat, circular plywood seat of the Stool 60 in the Turku factory, but Aalto’s innovation had applications for tables and a lot more. The furniture maker called the L-leg “the little sister of the architectural column.”

When the first prototype of the deceptively simplistic-looking Stool 60 materialized, Aalto and Korhonen tossed the piece across the sprawling factory floor to test its durability. Aalto told all in earshot, “We’ll make thousands of these one day!” It was a fairly modest prediction: Debuting at an exhibition of Finnish design in 1933, the Stool 60 was a revolutionary piece of seating furniture, and it has sold millions.

It is now available with seats in various colors and is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The library for which the stool was first intended won the World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize in 2014. The Stool 60 is currently manufactured by Artek, which the Aaltos helped cofound, and it is one of the company’s most cherished products.

Alvar Aalto Stool 60

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set of 3 Alvar Aalto for Artek Finland Stacking Stools Model 60 Mid-Century
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Las Vegas, NV
Set of three Alvar Aalto for Artek of Finland stacking stools model 60. Original two-tone dark stained legs with birch banded top and tan formica top. One is stamped Alvar Aalto Ar...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Stools

Materials

Wood

Alvar Alto Model 60 Stacking Stool, Finland
By Alvar Aalto, Artek
Located in Hingham, MA
Wonderful midcentury example of Alvar Aalto's L-leg three-legged Model 60 stool in birch laminate with black painted top, produced by Artek, Finland. Measures: 17" height x ~16 diame...
Category

Vintage 1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Stools

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto, Stacking Stool, Designed 1933, Beautiful Early Example
By Alvar Aalto
Located in London, GB
Alvar Aalto. Manufactured by Oy Huonekalu-Ja Rakennustyo¨tedas, Finland. Model 60 stool, designed 1933. Birch and birch plywood. Original early version in good un-restored co...
Category

Vintage 1930s Finnish Modern Stools

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto Model 60 Linoleum Top Stools
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in San Diego, CA
A pair of vintage Alvar Aalto model 60 linoleum top stools. Nicely warn yellow and blue top stools. Birch bentwood legs with Aalto’s signature feathered bentwood leg design. Great pa...
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Stools

Materials

Birch

Alvar Aalto L-leg Stools Model 60 in Birch & Red Linoleum, 1960s Artek, Finland
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in Odense, DK
Pair of beautifully patinated L-leg stools by Alvar Aalto from the early Artek production in laminated birch and red linoleum seats. The condition of these 1960s stools is amazing an...
Category

Vintage 1930s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Stools

Materials

Birch

Pair of Alvar Aalto Mid-Century Modern Round Stools
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Redding, CT
Pair of Alvar Aalto Mid-Century Modern round stools. Signed underneath ICF imports. Made in Finland. These have black linoleum tops and three wooden legs and they stack. We believe ...
Category

Vintage 1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Candle Stands

Materials

Wood

Stool by Alvar Aalto for Artek, 2007
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Brussels, BE
Stool by Alvar Aalto for Artek, 2007.
Category

Early 2000s Finnish Stools

Materials

Birch

Five Stacking Stools, Model 60, by Alvar Aalto, Designed in 1933
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Stockholm, SE
Five stacking chairs in beech, model 60 designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933.
Category

Vintage 1930s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Stools

Materials

Beech

Alvar Aalto for Artek Scandinavian Modern Upholstered Stools
By Artek, Alvar Aalto
Located in New York, NY
Alvar Aalto for Artek Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern pair of wood stools with snake skin leather upholstery seats. Makers mark on the bottom.
Category

20th Century Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern Stools

Materials

Upholstery, Wood

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