The Inimitable Artek Stool—and 16 Other Alvar Aalto Designs to Bring Warm Modernism Into Your Home

The Inimitable Artek Stool—and 16 Other Alvar Aalto Designs to Bring Warm Modernism Into Your Home

Born February 3 in Kuortane, Finland, Alvar Aalto brought a harmonious balance of function and grace to everything he designed.

The master of many art forms—from furniture design to architecture—Alvar Aalto infused his pieces with both rationality and personality, and his impressive body of work solidified him as one of the great modern designers of the 20th century. Celebrating his brilliant designs in honor of his birthday, we’ve gathered a few of our favorites that feel timeless as well as of-the-moment.

Artek A331 Beehive Pendant Light
Nicknamed Mehilaispesa (Beehive), this pendant light was first introduced in the interior design of the University of Jysaskla. The fixture is decorative and sculptural, even when unlit. When lit, it provides direct and ambient illumination.
Iittala Aalto Serving Tray
The Aalto Serving Tray by Iittala is a sculptural and functional design from modern architect and designer Alvar Alto. Capturing a signature shape that is found in many of his designs, an asymmetrical wave defines the edge of this wooden tray, beautifully framing whatever it carries.
Artek Aalto Stool 60
Through experiments in wood bending, Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto developed and patented a technique for cutting and steaming birchwood to make it more malleable.
Artek Aalto Screen
Alvar Aalto's unmatched ability to meld traditional materials with fluid, organic shaping takes form in this clever room divider. Designed in 1936, the screen is comprised of 6-foot tall pine planks aligned vertically. Adjust this folding Screen to fit your space, shape or mood.
Artek Paimio Armchair 41
Perhaps the best-known of all Alvar Aalto's furniture pieces. Designed in 1931, the Paimio Chair was named for the town in which Aalto designed a hospital and all its furnishings.
Iittala Aalto Vase
A classic piece that remains a modern Scandinavian design staple to this day. The Iittala Aalto Vase was originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1936, immediately revolutionizing the art of glassblowing with its intricate, fluid folds of glass.
Artek Table 90A
With its perfectly round top and 4 bent birch legs, the Artek Table 90A is sturdy and modernly geometric. Created in 1935, it is also a perfect--albeit enlarged--replica of the Stool E60, designed by Alvar Aalto a year earlier.
Artek Umbrella Stand 115
The Artek Umbrella Stand 115 has a triangular shape that is both visually appealing and useful for tucking away into the corners of entryways. The stand is composed of two bent birch triangles connected by three solid birch pegs.
Artek A110 Pendant Light
The Artek A110 Pendant Light, also referred to as the Hand Grenade lamp, captures mid-century modern minimalism and was originally designed for the Finnish Engineers' Association (1948-1953) and the Council Chamber of Saynatsalo Town Hall (1949-1952).
Artek Tea Trolley 901
Tea Trolley's structure is made of two continuous laminated wood loops shaped to accommodate large white wheels (featuring black rubber treads). This side-table has been produced with many variations historically since its original design in 1936.
Artek High Chair K65
The Artek High Chair K65 takes its design cue from Aalto's Stool 60. That innovative original features a round birch slab seat and bent birch legs. The High Chair K65 has the same basic structure, but elongated several inches.
Artek Paimio Poster
Bring a piece of iconic design to your home. The Artek Icon Poster called the Paimio presents the chair designed by Alvar Aalto in 1931. The Paimio armchair is one of the most beautiful chairs designed by Aalto and the chair was created as a part of the Paimio Senatorium's overall project.
Alvar Aalto Chair 69
Chair 69 features bent birch plywood which forms the legs and seat back of this simple yet distinguished seat. The seat is available in your choice of birch veneer, laminate or upholstered.
Iittala Aalto Finlandia Vase
The Aalto Finlandia Vase is a symbol of Finnish design and one of the most famous glass objects in the world. The Collection is a staple of modern Scandinavian design and Iittala’s most iconic series.
Artek Bench 153A
The Artek Bench 153A is a conveniently contemporary seating solution in pretty much any room of the home. It is made entirely out of solid birch in a clear or colored lacquer. The legs are signature Alvar Aalto: lengths of solid birch bent into strong and graceful curves.
Artek Table 81B
Originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1935, the Artek Table 81B remains as versatile and useful a piece for today's modern home. It distinguishes itself with its base: four legs made out of two lengths of bent birch. The top is a slab of birch veneer edged in solid wood to match the legs.
Artek A330S Pendant
The A330S Pendant by Artek is a pendant light that is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Bell," referencing the appearance of the bell-like shade. This pendant light from noted Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto can elevate the modern design aesthetic of any home or office space.

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Related Reading:

Design Icon: 10 Buildings by Alvar Aalto

Architect Josh Blumer Explains Why He Backpacked Through Europe With an Alvar Aalto Vase

Design Classic: Alvar Aalto’s Artek Stools

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