Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was born in Finland and studied architecture at the Helsinki Technical College. By 1923 he had established a practice near his hometown. In 1924, he married his assistant Aino Marsio, also an architect. They remained creative partners until Aino´s death in 1949.
Aalto´s first major project was a tuberculosis sanatorium at Paimio, which was completed in 1933. Although he believed in the Bauhaus concept of of functionalism, he nevertheless preferred natural materials for this project for the sick. He had experimented with bending birchwood during the late 1920´s and had the technical capacity to create the famous Paimo armchair for this project. This chair was made from a single piece of molded plywood, the first of its kind.
Aalvar achieved international recognition at the 1939 New York World´s Fair with his Finnish Pavilion, dubbed a "symphony in wood." As a result of the publicity generated by the pavilion, he received a professorship in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1940-1949. Aalto designed a dormitory there during his tenure. Other significant projects include the Viipuri Library, his own house in Helsinki, and an exhibition pavilion celebrating the 700th anniversary of the town of Turku.
Aalto was widely honored for his work. He received an honorary doctorate from Princeton University in 1947, and the Royal Gold Medal of Architecture from the British Government. He was also appointed to the Academie der kunste, Berlin, the academy of Finland, and was made a Royal Honorary Designer for Industry in England.
Paimio lounge chairs, designed 1930/these chairs 1960
Two-tier side table, 1930s
Upholstered dining chairs, 1950s
Birch bench, 1960s
Tank lounge chairs, 1950s
Executive desk, 1930s
Tea trolley, 1936