Monday, May 3, 2010

Armchair - Alvar Aalto

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (February 3 1898, Kuortane – May 11 1976, Helsinki) was a Finnish architect and designer, sometimes called the "Father of Modernism" in the nordic countries. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware. Aalto's early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family.
The most important Finnish architect of the 20th century, ALVAR AALTO was a central figure in international modernism. His greatest buildings, like the 1927 Viipuri Library and 1928 Paimio Sanatorium, fused the naturalism of Finnish romanticism with modernist ideals: as did his influential furniture and glassware.
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 (1963).

Originally Alvar studied to become an architect in Helsinki but eventually found himself working as an exhibition designer and travelled extensively in central Europe, Italy and Scandinavia.
In 1924 he married the designer, Aino Marsio and together and for five years they experimented with the bending of wood. This research led to Alvar's revolutionary designs of the 1930's. Alvar began bonding veneers together and moulding plywood. These experiments led to one of the most innovative chairs at the time which he named Model No.41.

The chair is made from laminated and solid birch frame. Birch is a very flexible and springy material. The seat is made from bent plywood which has been heavily lacquered. The scrolls at the back of the chair have been bent into such a shape by removing several layers of the plywood veneer.


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