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Artek and the Aaltos: Creating a Modern World, edited by Nina Stritzler-Levine and Timo Riekko


Nina Stritzler-Levine and Timo Riekko, editors



The Finnish design firm Artek is best known as the producer and distributor of Modernist bentwood furniture designed by Alvar Aalto (1898–1976). However, its mission was more complex and multifaceted, grounded in the notion that art and design could enhance everyday life. Artek and the Aaltos showcases more than three hundred objects, including furniture, glassware, lighting, design sketches, drawings, textile swatches, and photographs. Most of the material is published here for the first time. It contextualizes the contributions of Artek, and those of its founders, Alvar and his wife, Aino Marsio Aalto (1894–1949), providing evidence for their close professional partnership as well as critical interpretations of their major projects. It also considers individuals such as Maija Heikenheimo, whose career at Artek spanned three decades.  In addition, this book examines the Aaltos’ advocacy for the use of standardized forms within the Artek product line and the parameters of the company’s mission. Fully indexed appendices present new scholarship, including an inventory of the Artek product line (furniture, textiles, and glass). This book is the first English-language publication on the topic, as well as the most comprehensive, with chapters authored by leading scholars of design history and architecture.


Table of Contents


Susan Weber

Introduction and Editor's Note

Nina Stritzler-Levine

I. Artek and the Aaltos

Nina Stritzler-Levine

1. Retailing Aalto in London before Artek

Harry Charrington

2. Giedion, Wohnbedarf, and Palag: A Prehistory of Artek

Arthur Rüegg

  • Wohnebedarf Store on Talstrasse, Zurich, 1932-33
  • Corso Dance Hall, Zurich, 1934
  • Doldertal Apartments, Zurich, 1932-36

3. Aalto Standards

Juhani Pallasmaa

  • Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Paimio, 1929-33
  • Minimum Apartment Exhibition, Helsinki Art Hall, 1930
  • City Library, Viipuri, 1927-35

4. Aino Marsio-Aalto as Creative Director

Renja Suominen-Kokkonen

The Artek "Mainfesto" in Practice: Art, Interiors, Propaganda

5. An Art Gallery for a New Era

Susanna Pettersson

6. Artek in Sweden

Rasmus Wærn

7. Furnishing the United States of America

Nina Stritzler-Levine

8. Artek and the Aalto Atelier in Postwar Finland

Harry Charrington

The Artek Product Line

The Perfect Bentwood Chair

Pertti Männistö

Aino and Alvar Aalto Glass: Design, Production, Distribution

Timo Keinänen

Functionality and Exoticism in Artek Textiles: Creating Distinction within the Standard

Leena Svinhufvud


Nina Stritzler-Levine

Selected Bibliography


2.00 LBS

Other Details


Page count
700 pages

Publication date
August 2016