Named a 2016 50 Books | 50 Covers award winner by the AIGA, the professional association for design.

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.

Out of print

Table of Contents
Susan Weber

Introduction and Editor’s Note
Nina Stritzler-Levine
Artek and the Aaltos
Nina Stritzler-Levine
Retailing Aalto in London before Artek
Harry Charrington
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
Aalto Standards
Juhani Pallasmaa
– Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Paimio, 1929-33
– Minimum Apartment Exhibition, Helsinki Art Hall, 1930
– City Library, Viipuri, 1927-35

Aino Marsio-Aalto as Creative Director
Renja Suominen-Kokkonen

The Artek “Mainfesto” in Practice: Art, Interiors, Propaganda

An Art Gallery for a New Era
Susanna Pettersson

Artek in Sweden
Rasmus Wærn

Furnishing the United States of America
Nina Stritzler-Levine
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