Modern Bio: Alvar Aalto

Modern Decor

Believe us: There are plenty of benefits to carrying such awesome and prestigious brands as our newest, Iittala (among them, of course, being able to offer such gorgeous items for the home for purchase by you fine folk). But one of the best has got to be the chance to offer designs by some of the top modern designers of all time; designs from names that you know and recognize and that you can take home and put on a shelf and point to when guests come over. With the welcoming of Iittala to the 2Modern brand we also welcome some gorgeous designs by none other than modern design giant Alvar Aalto!

One of the most important Finnish architects of the 20th Century, he was also well-known for his work in furniture, textiles and glassware, and felt it was important to be a total designer: someone who wouldn’t just design the building but also consider interior surfaces, furnishings, lighting and more. His career spanned from the 1920s to the 1970s and over several design styles, like Nordic Classicism to International Style Modernism to eventually pioneering a more organic form of modernism.

Bulleted History:

  • Born Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto on February 3, 1898, in Kuortane, Finland.
  • Aalto studied at the Jyväskylä Lyceum school, completing his basic education in 1916.
  • Graduated in 1921 from Helsinki University of Technology in architecture.
  • Opened his first architectural office in Jyväskylä, Finland in 1923.
  • In 1924 married architect Aino Marsio.
  • The Aaltos moved their office to Turku in 1927 and started collaborating with architect Erik Bryggman.
  • Moved their office again in 1933 to Helsinki.
  • Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949. In 1952 Aalto married architect Elissa Mäkiniemi.
  • In 1952 Aalto designed and had built a summer cottage, the Experimental House, for himself and Elissa in Muuratsalo in Central Finland.
  • Died on May 11, 1976, in Helsinki.

Works of Note:

  • Bell tower of Kauhajärvi Church, Lapua, Finland, 1921–1923
  • Municipal hospital, Alajärvi, Finland, 1924–1928
  • Turun Sanomat newspaper offices, Turku, Finland, 1928–1930
  • Paimio Sanatorium, Tuberculosis sanatorium and staff housing, Paimio, Finland, 1928–1929
  • Paimio Chair, 1932
  • Three-legged stacking Stool 60, 1933 
  • Four-legged Stool E60, 1933
  • Corso theatre, restaurant interior, Zürich, Switzerland, 1934
  • Armchair 404 (a/k/a/ Zebra Tank Chair), 1935-6
  • Aalto Vase, 1936
  • Armchair 406, 1939
  • Baker House, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 1947–1948
  • Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland, 1949–1966
  • House of Culture, Helsinki, Finland, 1952–1958
  • The Experimental House, Muuratsalo, Finland, 1953 
  • Floor lamp A805, 1954
  • Floor lamp A810, 1959
  • KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark, 1958–1972
  • Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1962–1971 
  • Building for Västmanland-Dala nation, Uppsala, Sweden, 1963–1965
  • Nordic House, Reykjavík, Iceland, 1965–1968 
  • Mount Angel Abbey Library, St. Benedict, Oregon, USA, 1970
  • Essen opera house, Essen, Germany, 1959–1988

Take some Alvar Aalto home with you!

iittala – Aalto Vase 4.75
iittala – Aalto Vase 6.25
iittala – Aalto Stainless Steel Tray
iittala – Aalto Bowl 2 x 7.5
iittala – Aalto Oak Serving Platter
iittala – Aalto Stainless Steel Bowl
iittala – Aalto Finlandia Vase 10
iittala – Aalto Finlandia Vase 8

What’re you waiting for! Check out Alvar Aalto and Iittala on 2Modern, as well as all our previous bios, Richard Sapper, Philippe Starck, Mario Bellini and Frank Gehry.

Images: Wikipedia creative commons, this is Finland, The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
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