Designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933, the Stool 60 is certainly the most copied design classic in the world. Since its introduction in 1933, several million units of Stool 60 and its four-legged version Stool E60 have been sold, making it one of the most cherished products in the history of design. The Stool 60 is a versatile furniture that can be used as a stool, a side table, storage or display surface, representing the quintessence of functionalist furniture design.
The legs are mounted directly to the underside of the round seat without the need for complicated connecting elements. Thanks to its geometry, the stool can be stacked to save space in a spiralling tower sculpture. Over the years, the stool has been produced in numerous wood stains, lacquers and upholstery fabrics.
Dimensions H44 x Ø38 cm
Materials legs and seat solid birch, seat surface birch veneer
To mark the stool's anniversary, Formafantasma has developed a variant of the 60 stool, celebrating the natural beauty of wood. The Villi 60 stool is made from "wild birch" and exploits all the possibilities and variations of the birch forest. Encouraging a wider, wilder and more responsible use of Finnish birch, the Stool 60 Villi features natural marks such as knots in the wood and traces left by colonising insects, highlighting the impact of climate change and the industrialisation of the forest.
Stool 60 Villi
By inserting veneer sheets into incisions in each leg, birch wood is given the necessary flexibility to be bent into the desired L-shape. For Stool 60 Kontrasti thermo-treated birch veneer in a contrasting tone is used for the wood bending process to highlight the beauty of this great innovation. The same darker veneer strips reappear in the seat top, emphasising the economic use of wood offcuts from the legs in the construction of the seat.
Stool 60 Kontrasti
Stool 60 – Natural lacquered birch
Stool 60 – Birch + White HPL
Stool 60 – Birch + Black Linoleum
Stool 60 – Birch + Black seat
Stool 60 – Birch + White seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Orange seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Yellow seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Green seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Petrol seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Blue seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Red seat
Stool 60 – Birch + Grey seat
Stool 60 – White
Stool 60 – Black
Stool 60 – Honey stained birch
Stool 60 – Walnut stained birch
Stool 60 – Upholstered seat natural lacquered birch legs
Stool 60 – Seat upholstered
stained or lacquered legs
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.