At Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2015, Artek celebrated the company’s 80th anniversary by presenting two discoveries from the archives: an Experimental Wood Relief and the Maison Louis Carré Table.
Alvar Aalto started experimenting with laminated bent wood in 1929. Besides giving rise to many of the technical solutions on which Aalto’s bentwood furniture is based, the experiments also resulted in wood pieces made of bent birch lamella. These pieces were part of an important process of solving the technical challenges relating to his furniture developments as well as a method for Aalto to experiment with the material of wood in a playful, artistic way. Between 1933 and 1955 Aalto created around twenty different pieces at the Korhonen Factory in Turku, Finland. This very same factory, which now goes under the name of a- factory, still produces Artek’s Alvar Aalto Collection. Although the pieces were made with the intent to show the technical methods used in the manufacture of wood products, they are also abstract sculptures on their own. Over the years, the wood pieces went from being free material demonstrations to artistically considered compositions. Ultimately, these experiments led to works whose explicit purpose was to provide artistic decoration for architectural spaces. The ‘language of wood fibres’ – which is what the bent rods in the pieces spoke, according to Aalto – was soon transferred to brick walls, concrete arches and glass bowls. This language of nature remained an integral part of Aalto’s architectural idiom. The expressive wood pieces were later also used as acoustic screens in some of his concert halls and theatres, such as the auditorium in the House of Culture and the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. The pieces were also an important part of various exhibitions by Alvar Aalto, including the 1933 presentation Wood Only at Fortnum & Mason in London as well as Aalto’s first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1938. The graceful designs express the inherent logic of the material and Aalto’s fundamental idea of the interplay between nature and technology. They remain a key link in the Finnish master’s thinking about architecture, society and his own mission in life. On the occasion of the company’s 80th anniversary, Artek introduces one of Aalto’s most elegant wood experiments in a limited edition of 80 pieces (labelled and numbered).
The Maison Louis Carré in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, France, was designed by Alvar Aalto between 1956 and 1959 as a private home for the influential French art dealer and collector Louis Carré. This masterpiece of modern architecture, combining buildings, garden, furniture and interior design into a complete work of art, is Aalto’s only remaining building in France and one of his most remarkable private villas. One of the furniture pieces custom-made for the building was an elegant side table, which was featured in the sitting area of the living room. Its low, organically shaped table top was made of teak and its X-legs, or fan legs, of ash wood, elegantly contrasting the light and dark wood of the table as well as of much of the interior. As a result of several architectural projects, Aalto had designed the X-leg as a third furniture leg typology based on his previous L-leg and Y-leg inventions. The fan-shaped Xleg is a combination of five thin, interlinked L-legs and was used in a new series of stools, tables and armchairs from 1954. The Maison Louis Carré table is considered one of the most elegant and rare pieces among the X- leg products. The original production batch was very small, and all of them were placed in the Maison Louis Carré. On the occasion of the company’s 80th anniversary, Artek introduces the Maison Carré Table in a limited edition of 80 pieces. Artek’s re-edition is based on the original drawings of the table and comes with X-legs in natural lacquered birch and a black lacquered birch table top, playing with the same contrast between light and darkness as the Maison Carré interiors.
Artek was founded in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The business strategy of the company was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means”. The founders of Artek advocated a new kind of environment for everyday life. They believed in a grand synthesis of the arts and wanted to make a difference in architecture and design as well as in town planning. Today Artek, which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2015, is renowned as being one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, creating new paths at the intersection of design, architecture and art. The Artek collection comprises furniture, lighting and accessories by the Nordic masters Alvar Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Tapio Wirkkala, Eero Aarnio and Yrjö Kukkapuro. Artek also works with leading international architects, designers and artists, such as Shigeru Ban, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius, Harri Koskinen, Enzo Mari and Tobias Rehberger.
For all UK press enquiries regarding Artek, please contact Caro Communications: