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A co-founder of Artek, the world-renowned furniture and lighting company, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) left a resounding design legacy with his distinctive blend of modernist refinement and natural materials.
Born in Kuortane, Finland, Aalto studied architecture at the Helsinki Institute of Technology before setting up his own practice. His buildings were distinctly individual, while retaining a strong sense of humanity and warmth. Aalto began his career as a furniture designer in the early 30s, when a commission to build the tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio, Finland, led to him furnishing the entire building in his designs. In 1935 Artek was set up as a means of selling his and his wife Aino’s furniture, lighting, and textiles.
A versatile architect and designer with numerous successes to his name, Aalto considered his ‘L-leg’ design the greatest achievement of his career. Since it was patented in the 1930s, the iconic ‘L-leg’ has propped up hundreds of seat, stool and table variations, becoming a defining design feature in the Artek collection.