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Company Profile: Artek – Pioneer of Modern Design - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles : Current Affairs


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News, 8/11/2017 | Embassy of Finland, Washington

Company Profile: Artek – Pioneer of Modern Design

Artek is a Finnish furniture company founded in 1935 by architects and designers Alvar and Aino Aalto, visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl. The company’s vision was to spread modern design and art worldwide. It wanted to interconnect modern visual arts, rational furniture production and popular education.

Alvar and Aino Aalto were the creative force behind the company. Alvar Aalto was a highly talented architect and an eager spokesman for the international modernist movement. His style can be described as humanist modernism. Aino Aalto is best known for her interior designs but she designed furniture as well. She served as the creative and executive director of Artek. The Aaltos married in 1924 and worked together on several projects, like the Finnish pavilions of the World Exhibitions in Paris (1937) and in New York (1939).

Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland
Alvar Aalto design
Alvar Aalto design

The Artek collection comprises furniture, lighting and accessories by the Nordic masters Alvar Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Tapio Wirkkala, Eero Aarnio and Yrjö Kukkapuro. The company works also with leading international designers.

Artek is heralded as one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, but the company was not merely a place to buy furniture. The first Artek store, opened in Helsinki in 1936, soon added an art gallery to showcase modern art to its customers.

The company’s headquarter is in Helsinki, and it has international offices in New York, Tokyo, Stockholm and Berlin. Artek’s furniture is sold all around the United States. The company has several retailers across the country, and one can find the classic Finnish designs for example in private homes, museums, schools, restaurants, hotels and offices.

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Updated 8/21/2017

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