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Alvar Aalto

alvar aalto portrait

One of the 20th century’s great International Style architects, Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) is renowned for synthesizing the precepts of modernism with expressionist organic forms and natural materials. He is known for his contributions in architecture, furniture, glassware, and textiles. As Aalto is especially revered in his native Finland, one can dine, browse book titles, and see a symphony in spaces of his design—not to mention visit the architect’s former home and studio in Helsinki, Finland.


a338 alvar aalto artek

A338 Pendant

One of Alvar Aalto's Finnish fixtures for Artek, the on-the-smaller-size A338 will provide direct light from its offset opening in the painted steel shade.

childrens alvar aalto chair moma

Aalto Child's Chair

Aalto created this chair, made of bent plywood and bent laminated birch, for Turku–based furniture purveyor Huonekalutehdas Korhonen Oy between 1931-32. It is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

A110 Artek Aalto Alvar Pendant

Pendant Lamp A110

Artek's A110 pendant has been shining brightly since it was designed by Finnish founder Alvar Aalto in 1952. The lacquered aluminum lamp directs focused rays—like a spotlight for your coffee or dining room table—and is available in black or white.

modern wall shelf storage solutions

Wall Shelf 112B


The classic of the bunch, Alvar Aalto’s 1936 design is the quintessence of Scandinavian modernism. Better still, the 112B is deep and wide enough to handle a potted plant and your Finnish–English dictionary without losing its functional elegance. It looks great hung alone or with a small squadron of other 112Bs.

If the devil is in the details, then we’d be even more enamored of Aalto’s design if the screws that affix the hanging brackets to the shelf weren’t exposed.

The understated simplicity of the design and its $425 price tag may chafe when your friends ask (understandably) if you got the shelf at Ikea.