ARTEK was founded in 1935 to sell and promote pieces of furniture designed by Alvar Aalto. Artek’s founders, Alvar and Aino Aalto, Nils-Gustav Hahl and Maire Gullichsen, draw up a manifest inspired by functionalism, according to which Artek’s aim was “to sell furniture and to promote modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other means”. Artek’s original values – long-term durability and high quality together with a clean form language – are still the company’s core. Artek’s main characters, Alvar and Aino Aalto, brought to modern furnishings their own style, which is warm, humane and inspired by nature. The use of natural materials and a human way of approaching, together with the search of new technical solutions have made of Artek a company whose values are modern still today.
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 af xed to and supported by these vertical elements.
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