Alvar Aalto – Armchair 41 / The Paimio Chair (1931–1932)
Aalto’s furniture pieces are always distinguished by clarity, functionality, simplicity and endurance. All those characteristics are timeless design principles, making individual furniture pieces timeless as well. The same pieces produced in the 1930’s, more than 80 years ago, are still being manufactured and sold worldwide today. Aalto always understood architecture as a bridge between human and nature and that view is apparent in furniture designs as well. His aim was to serially produce everyday objects using natural materials i.e. wood and put an emphasis on sinuous, tactile form, purposefully placed in space to achieve a flowing organic unity. His furniture was always carefully designed to be positioned in a space, which was understood as a continuum of nature. Nature is also reflected in the curvilinear curves of the furniture pieces. And yet furniture designs by Alvar and his partner and wife Aino, have a unique voice and can stand on their own. Even though they are serially produced they retain an almost hand-made quality about them, the essence of the human touch Aalto was always trying to keep. Aaltos’ aim with the Paimio Chair was to combine functionalism and beauty, which is a timeless aesthetic principle.
Author: Nina Misson
Photo: Aino Aalto Sitting on a Paimio Chair, photomontage, circa 1930.
© Alvar Aalto Museum, Artek Collection