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Alvar Aalto Artek Armstoel

Armchair, model 42 ± 1931-1932

Alvar Aalto FI

Artek FI

birch plywood

purchase from André Stevens, 2009

Alvar Aalto practised a humane form of modernism. He deliberately used natural materials and organic forms. In the sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in Paimio, for which he designed both the building and the interior, the hygienic, social and psychological needs of the patients made up his starting point. The chairs that he developed for the sanatorium were easy to maintain and the slanting backs were perfectly ergonomic for the patients, who needed much rest and good respiration. The organic forms of the chairs were made possible by the use of bent multiplex wood, a technical application with which Aalto had been experimenting for some time. He had been looking for an alternative to tubular ­furniture, which was popular among his ­modernist contemporaries, but whose metal elements he found to be user-­unfriendly on an acoustic and ­sensory level.


Met dank aan Katariina Pakoma (Alvar Aalto Museum en Alvar Aalto Foundation).