The Aalto Table conveys a relaxed familiarity that resists categorisation. Whether used for dining, working, or playing, the table retains its character while offering endless possibilities. In accordance with Alvar Aalto’s conception of versatile furniture, it moves naturally between public and private spheres. The Finnish birch from which Aalto tables are made boasts a natural beauty and radiates warmth; environmentally friendly, it will age gracefully over time. As with all Aalto products, the Aalto Table continues to be fabricated semi-industrially, according to strict criteria and with a high proportion of handcraftsmanship.
Tabletop 75 x 75 cm
Height 74 or 60
In the late 1920s, the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto began to experiment with bending wood and collaborated with the furniture manufacturer Otto Korhonen on a number of innovative techniques. The development of an L-shaped leg composed of solid bent wood – the “L-leg” – assumed a central role. Aalto referred to it as “the little sister of the architectural column”, as the L-leg takes on a similar weight-bearing function: various horizontal surfaces can be directly affixed to and supported by these vertical elements.
Manufactured in four sizes, the L-leg enabled the creation of more than 50 different products, from stools, chairs, benches and tables to storage furniture. With the L-leg, which was patented in 1933, Aalto invented a highly versatile system of standard components, which still forms the base of the Artek collection today.
Made from Finnish birch, the products boast a natural beauty and radiate warmth; they are sustainable and age gracefully.
Today, Artek’s collection comprises 36 products based on the L-leg. Aalto’s furniture designs project a sense of relaxed familiarity. They cannot be assigned to a distinct social identity or functional category. This makes them equally at home in public buildings, cultural institutions and educational facilities as well as in private homes.
Artek products continue to be fabricated semi-industrially according to strict quality criteria with a high proportion of handcraftsmanship.
The L-leg collection is still produced at the original Artek factory in Turku, Finland, the process of their production relatively unchanged, their organic qualities as ideologically and aesthetically relevant as ever.
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (1898-1976) was born in Kuortane, Finland. His father, Johan Henrik Aalto, was a Finnish-speaking land-surveyor and his mother, Selly (Selma) Matilda (née Hackstedt) was a postmistress. When Aalto was 5 years old, the family moved to Alajärvi, and from there to Jyväskylä in Central Finland. Aalto studied at the Jyväskylä Lyceum school, completing his basic education in 1916. In 1916 he then enrolled to study architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology, graduating in 1921.
In 1923 he returned to Jyväskylä, where he opened his first architectural office. Jyväskylä would become a notable city for his architecture, with more buildings designed by him than in any other city. The following year he married architect Aino Marsio. Their honeymoon journey to Italy sealed an intellectual bond with the culture of the Mediterranean region that was to remain important to Aalto for the rest of his life. The Aaltos moved their office to Turku in 1927, and started collaborating with architect Erik Bryggman. The office moved again in 1933 to Helsinki.
The Aaltos designed and built a joint house-office (1935–36) for themselves in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, but later (1954–56) had a purpose-built office built in the same neighbourhood - the latter building nowadays houses the Alvar Aalto Academy. Aino and Alvar Aalto had 2 children, a daughter Johanna "Hanni" Alanen, born Aalto, 1925, and a son Hamilkar Aalto, 1928. In 1926 the young Aaltos designed and had built a summer cottage in Alajärvi, Villa Flora. Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949. In 1952 Aalto married architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (died 1994), who had been working as an assistant in his office. In 1952 Aalto designed and had built a summer cottage, the so-called Experimental House, for himself and his new wife in Muuratsalo in Central Finland. Alvar Aalto died on May 11, 1976, in Helsinki.
Aalto's career spans the changes in style from (Nordic Classicism) to purist International Style Modernism to a more personal, synthetic and idiosyncratic Modernism. Aalto's wide field of design activity ranges from the large scale of city planning and architecture to interior design, furniture and glassware design and painting. It has been estimated that during his entire career Aalto designed over 500 individual buildings, approximately 300 of which were built, the vast majority of which are in Finland. He also has a few buildings in the USA, Germany, Italy, and France.
Aalto claimed that his paintings were not made as individual artworks but as part of his process of architectural design, and many of his small-scale "sculptural" experiments with wood led to later larger architectural details and forms. These experiments also led to a number of patents: for example, he invented a new form of laminated bent-plywood furniture in 1932. His experimental method had been influenced by his meetings with various members of the Bauhaus design school, especially László Moholy-Nagy, whom he first met in 1930. Aalto's furniture was exhibited in London in 1935, to great critical acclaim, and to cope with the consumer demand Aalto, together with his wife Aino, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl founded the company Artek that same year. Aalto glassware (Aino as well as Alvar) is manufactured by Iittala.
Aalto's 'High Stool' and 'Stool E60' (manufactured by Artek are currently used in Apple stores across the world to serve as seating for customers. Finished in black lacquer, the stools are used to seat customers at the 'Genius Bar' and also in other areas of the store at times when seating is required for a product workshop or special event.
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