A chair designed 70 years ago is getting a very of-the-moment makeover from Hella Jongerius.The prolific Dutch designer is giving Armchair 401, a classic created by Alvar Aalto in 1933, a contemporary makeover via darker wood finishes and ravishing color blocked textiles—part of an initial collaboration with Artek on a ‘crisp and tactile collection of classics.’
Introduced at Salone del Mobile in Milan last week, Armchair 401 is only one of several Jongerius ‘reinterpretations’ presented by the Finnish manufacturer—but it’s easily the most visually striking. According to designer, the aim of remaking this Aalto icon was to add “depth and warmth” to the chair’s high-backed, structured profile with the inclusion of two darker wood finishes—walnut and charcoal—to Aalto’s original pale birch tones; and, most compellingly, to swathe Armchair 401 in a selection of textured fabrics, arranged in a graphic scheme of three solid colors: two colors for the front, and a third covering the back.
The result? If there’s such a thing as being both radical and reverent, Hella Jongerius has managed it—handsomely.