Aalto, Alvar (1898 - 1976)

Finnish architect and designer. He attended the Polytechnic in Helsinki, graduating in 1921. Through his involvement with CIAM (Congrès internationaux d'architecture moderne), he became acquainted with some of Breuer’s friends including Carola and Sigfried Giedion and László Maholy-Nagy. With his wife, Aino, and the joiner, Otto Korhonen, Aalto pioneered techniques for manufacturing plywood furniture, many of which inspired Breuer in his work for the Isokon furniture company. In 1935, Aalto and his wife, along with Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hal, founded the furniture company Artek with the goal “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational means.” Aalto incorporated undulating forms and natural woods into modernist designs such as the Viipuri Library and the Villa Mairea. Other important commissions include the Paimio Sanatorium, the Otaniemi master plan for Helsinki University of Technology (1949), Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949), and Baker House, a dormitory for MIT (1947-48).

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