This historic Finnish brand looks after the important collections of designers Aino and Alvar Aalto, IImari Tapiovaara and Yrjö Kukkapuro. But they are not standing still, for example, in 2015 Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec developed the very extensive Kaari shelf and table series, inspired by Aalto's 1933 L-leg collection that is still in production. In the spirit of honoring Alvar Aalto, Artek works as much as possible with local materials and responsible ethical craftsmanship with the goal of creating furniture and lighting that will last for many decades. Famous designs are: the Stool 60 from 1933 and the 'Beehive' A331 pendant lamp from 1953. Their slogan ‘buy now keep forever’ says it all.
ARTEK PHILOSOPHY AND THEIR DESIGNERS
Artek is a conjoining of Art and Technology. The company was founded in 1935 by four young idealists. Nils Gustav Hahl, art historian and cosmopolitan, brought artist and intellectual Marie Gullichsen into contact with the architect and designer couple Aino and Alvar Aalto. Together, these four formed the basis of Artek.
In the Artek Manifesto, they laid down that they were going to promote Aalto's furniture collection internationally on the one hand and their cultural mission on the other; by comprehensively bringing together modern art with technology and industry and applying it to interior design and architecture, they want to make everyday life more beautiful and better. With this vision, the Finnish furniture and the ideas of the Manifesto were shown at international fairs and exhibitions.
To this day, Artek stands for innovation. Meanwhile, contemporary international designers such as the Bouroullec brothers, Koichi Futatsumata, Hella Jongerius, Konstantin Grcic and TAF studio have contributed to the Artek collection. Through these global collaborations, the Artek spirit remains active and the 1935 Artek Manifesto is still alive and well.
THE MODELS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS.
The Domus chair, also known as The Finn Chair was designed in 1946 by Tapiovaara for the Domus Academica, a student complex in Helsinki. It had to be a chair in which you could sit for a long time to read and study. It is a super comfortable chair and the half armrest gives surprising much support and comfort. And because the armrests are short you can also easily slide the chair back under the table. Which makes it a very unique and comfortable dining chair.
Some other famous designs from Artek are the Stool 60, Chair 66 and Chair 69 and the iconic Tea Trolly 901 chair, which are all originals from the 1930s and still very relevant today.
Also, Artek lighting such as the Beehive, Brass A330 and Aalto's "Hand Grenade" are beautiful designs and make a great addition above your dining table.
THE CRAFTSMANSHIP AND HISTORY OF ARTEK
Alvar Aalto developed a revolutionary technique in the 1920s to bend wood and use it to make furniture. Long strips of birch wood were glued together and then bent into any organic shape you wanted.With this technique it was as strong as bent steel, but with a much warmer look. This is how, the still in production, Paimio lounge chair 1932 was first created for the Paimio Sanatorium designed by Aalto.
Regional birch wood from Finland is the basis for most of the furniture in the Artek collection. Also, most pieces are produced in Finland. Birch trees grow about 20 to 30 meters tall. After 50 to 80 years, they are harvested and dried for 12 months. Because the wood lies outside under a cover protected from the rain but free from the wind, it is dried naturally. This gives it its light color, also known as blond birch. Each piece of wood is then examined and given a purpose. It is used as a chair seat or, with more knots, as a table leg. The remaining wood is again used to fire the kilns. In this way, the whole tree is being used and the material is handled in a sustainable way.