Authentic Tea Trolley 901 in Black Birch by Alvar Aalto, Hella Jongerius & Artek For Sale
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Authentic Tea Trolley 901 in Black Birch by Alvar Aalto, Hella Jongerius & Artek


Alvar Aalto's Tea Trolleys serve as highly functional and distinctive additions to a dining room or hospitality area. Introduced at the 1937 Paris World's Fair, they are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Recognised today as one of the great masters of modern architecture, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was born in Kuortane, Finland. During a long and prolific career, Aalto designed buildings for almost all key public institutions, as well as standardised housing and private homes. One of the co-founders of Artek, Aalto left a legacy with lasting resonance. Aalto’s architecture is distinctively Finnish, strongly individual, and marked by a warm humanity. His buildings derive their aesthetic character from their dynamic relationship with their natural surroundings, their human scale, superbly executed details, unique treatment of materials, and ingenious use of lighting. Aalto began designing furnishings as a natural extension of his architectural thinking. His first modern piece of furniture was created in 1931-1932 for the tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio, Finland. Artek was set up in 1935 to market and sell his and his wife Aino’s furniture, lighting, and textiles, particularly on international markets. Through his innovations in form and line, Alvar Aalto’s name has also become important in the history of design. In fact, Aalto first achieved fame in Continental Europe as a furniture designer, and only later as an architect. His contribution to furniture design was among his foremost achievements in its own right. Aalto’s furniture and lighting form the heart of the Artek range. For non-US pricing, please inquire stating your country of residence. We will respond with an updated price and estimated lead-time. 

Additional Options

Because our product is hand-made in Finland, additional colors, finishes and sizes are available with an added production lead-time. Please inquire for more information about the variations we offer.


  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 22 in. x W 35.5 in. x D 19.75 in.

    H 55.88 cm x W 90.17 cm x D 50.17 cm

  • Seller location
    New York, NY
  • Seller reference number
    283 015 04 Q
  • Reference number

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About Alvar Aalto (Designer)

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 chair,” 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.

About The Maker

Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.” The name Artek is a synthesis of "art" and ‘technology’ – concepts central to the international modernist movement that came to prominence in the 1920s. It was Walter Gropius, a key proponent of modernism, who coined the motto ‘art and technology – a new unity.’ Technology was understood to include science and industrial production methods, while the conception of art extended beyond the fine arts to encompass architecture and design. Modernism aimed to achieve a fruitful union of these two spheres. This same aspiration guided the founders of Artek in their naming of the company. In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative player in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture, and art. The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers. It stands for clarity, functionality, and poetic simplicity.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2018
Typical response time: 8 hrs
Located in New York, NY
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