It was in 1933 that Alvar Aalto first introduced the L-leg, which subsequently became a staple of much of his furniture, including a whole collection of rectangular dining tables.
Once asked to assess his own importance as a designer and architect, Alvar Aalto declared that his greatest achievement was the L-leg, whose importance stemmed from the fact that it solved a very old problem - the fixing of chair and table legs - in a totally new way, the L-leg screwing directly to the seat or tabletop, without any intermediate parts, to form a solid structure from the outset.
Artek Rectangular Tables are based on different combinations of Alvar Aalto’s L-leg and table tops.
L-Legs solid birch, clear lacquered
Tabletop core solid birch, chipboard, honeycomb, thickness 4 or 5 cm Tabletop surface birch veneer – clear lacquered, black linoleum, or white HPL (high-pressure laminate)
Height 74 cm Length 100 to 240 cm Width 60 to 100 cm
Les tables sont disponibles avec trois finitions de plateaux : bouleau vernis naturel, formica HPL blanc et linoléum. Les plateaux en bouleau vernis naturel bénéficient de trois couches ; sous l'effet des UV, leur couleur évolue vers une couleur miel plus soutenue. Les plateaux en stratifié HPL blanc sont d'un entretien extrêmement aisé, idéal pour tous les jours. Le linoléum est une matière naturelle à partir d'huiles végétales; tendre et chaud, c'est un matériau qui se patine au fil du temps.
birch natural lacquered
birch + white HPL laminate
birch + black linoleum
81C Table – 75 x 75 x H74 cm
81A Table – 150 x 75 x H74 cm
80A Table – 120 x 60 x H74 cm
81B Table – 120 x 75 x H74 cm
82B Table – 135 x 85 x H74 cm
82A Table – 150 x 85 x H74 cm
83 Table – 182 x 91 x H74 cm
86 Table – 210 x 100 x H74 cm
97 Extendable table –135/190 x 85 cm
The rectangular tables can be combined with hemispherical table 95
The square and rectangular Aalto Tables can be manufactured to be stackable on request.
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.