Artek was founded by Alvar Aalto in 1935, in collaboration with his wife Aino Aalto, who was in charge of the art direction, with the art historian Nils Gustav Hahl, company administrator, and with the collector Maire Gullichsen, who took care of relations with the art world. The very name of Artek indicated the desire to combine art and technology, and in particular the latest findings on the curvature of wood.
This technique has always been at the base of the Artek production: for over eighty years the famous Finnish birches have been processed in the large Turku plant to create ever new furniture. This is how the famous and very stable “L-shaped legs” are born, at the base of many of Alvar Aalto’s most famous furnishings, such as the stool 60 or the chair 66. The curved wood can then be closed again to form a ring, as in the legs of the famous Paimio armchair or Tea trolley Trolley 901.
Other famous Artek armchairs are Aalto’s Lounge Chair 43 and the Karuselli armchair by Yrjö Kukkapuro, an emblem of the 1960s. Among the Artek chairs, the Mademoiselle model by Ilmari Tapiovaara stands out, also available in a rocking version. The company’s lighting sector is also highly appreciated, with products that still look very modern, such as the Golden Bell suspension lamp by Alvar Aalto or the U336 model by Jørn Utzon.