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Above: Alvar Aalto's "Savoy Vase"designed in 1936 and is still inspiring products today.
I've always been a fan of Alvar Aalto's classic web furniture and wonderful vases. Since his death, many things have been inspired by the famous "Savoy" vase shape of his design.
And here are just a few.
Just click on any of the items below and you'll be directed to their place of purchase
See more of my It's All About Aalto! list at ThisNext.
Alvar Aalto was born in Kuortane, Finland. He studied architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology from 1916 to 1921. He returned to Jyväskylä, where he opened his first architectural office in 1923. 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. Aalto moved his 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 (1954-55) had a purpose-built office built in the same neighbourhood. Aino Aalto died in 1949 and in 1952 he married architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (died 1994). In 1957 they designed and had built a summer cottage, the so-called Experimental House, for themselves in Muuratsalo, where they spent their summers. Alvar Aalto died in May 11, 1976, in Helsinki.
Above: Early portrait of Alvar Aalto
Although sometimes regarded as the first and the most influential architects of Nordic modernism, a closer examination of the historical facts reveals how Aalto (while a pioneer in Finland) closely followed and had personal contacts with other pioneers in Sweden, in particular Gunnar Asplund and Sven Markelius. But what they and many others of that generation in the Nordic countries had in common was that they started off from a classical education and were first designing in the so-called Nordic Classicism style before moving, in the late 1920s, towards Modernism.
In Aalto's case this is epitomised by the Viipuri Library (1927-35), which went through a transformation from an originally classical competition entry proposal to the completed high-modernist building. His humanistic approach is in full evidence there: the interior displays natural materials, warm colours, and undulating lines. The Viipuri Library project lasted eight years, and during that same time he also designed the Turun Sanomat Building (1929-30) and Paimio Sanatorium (1929-33): thus the Turun Sanomat Building first heralded Aalto's move towards modernism, and this was then carried forward both in the Paimio Sanatorium and in the on-going design for the library. But though the Turun Sanomat Building and Paimio Sanatorium are comparatively pure modernist works, even they carried the seeds of his questioning of such an approach and a move to a more daring, synthetic attitude.
above: Alvar and his wife, Aino
Aalto was a member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne; attending the second congress in Frankfurt in 1929, and the fourth congress in Athens in 1933. It was not until the completion of the Paimio Sanatorium (1929) and Viipuri Library (1935) that he first achieved world attention in architecture. His reputation grew in the USA following the critical reception of his design for the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, described by Frank Lloyd Wright as a "work of genius".
It could be said that Aalto's reputation was sealed with his inclusion in the second edition of Sigfried Giedion's influential book on Modernist architecture, Space, Time and Architecture. The growth of a new tradition (1949), in which Aalto received more attention than any other Modernist architect, including Le Corbusier. In his analysis of Aalto, Giedion gave primacy to qualities that depart from direct functionality, such as mood, atmosphere, intensity of life and even 'national characteristics', declaring that "Finland is with Aalto wherever he goes".
Aalto's awards included the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects (1957) and the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects
For More About Alvar Aalto or Aalto products and design, see the links below:
Buy Aalto vases and products
The Alvar Aalto Museum
More info and products from Scandanavian Design
Design Museum info