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"Make new friends, but keep the old," as the saying goes. Artek is proud to be upholding this adage with its lineup of releases for 2015, first revealed at this year's Stockholm Furniture Fair. Designs by our founder, Alvar Aalto, are re-introduced alongside Kaari, a brand new collaboration with the celebrated Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

When Artek was founded in 1935, we set out to "promote a modern culture of living," and that means staying on the forefront of design technology and seeking out the most innovative designers. Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have tirelessly invigorated their craft through experimental exercises, product and furniture design, and architecture. This commitment to creativity combined with Artek's focus on functionality led to the creation of Kaari, a system that is both practical and unique. 

Reinventing the table is no small task; while the chair has been significantly altered throughout history according to new tastes and typologies, the table has remained largely the same. Kaari, Finnish for "arch", represents the discovery not just of an original table leg, but an entirely new form that can support a wide variety of surfaces. The Bouroullec's use of wood and steel banding aligns Kaari with Artek tradition, and our heritage is further celebrated in 2015 with the reintroduction of four Aalto designs from our archives. 

Aalto's line of "domestic helpers" includes the Coat Rack (1936), Wall Drawer (1947), and two editions of a birch framed Mirror (1939).  These designs reflect the epitome of Artek's values in their wide-ranging usefulness and clarity of design.  

What do you think of these designs, new and old? Have a favorite?

Tell us what it is below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

 

 

 

In 2013, Artek introduced a line of illustrated furniture especially for children. This collaboration combined two hallmarks of Finnish culture: Alvar Aalto's iconic designs, and Tove Jansson's beloved Moomin characters. 

Tove Jansson created her first Moomin-like character in a 1943 illustration for the magazine Garm. The Moomin world achieved international attention when her third book, Finn Family Moomintroll (pictured above), was translated and published in English. The many adventures of the Moomin characters, learning about life and friendship in Moominvalley, transpired through books, multiple television series, live performances, a comic strip, and even a theme park.  

 

 

The world fell in love with the Moomins because of their respect for nature, peacefulness and nonviolence: in short, everything that made them quintessentially Finnish. Additionally, the wisdom, humor, and friendship that characterized their adventures spoke, and still speaks, to readers of all ages and languages. 

 

 

It only seemed natural to combine the whimsical character of the Moomins with Alvar Aalto's best-loved designs. Together, they are a perfect marriage of Finnish spirit and Finnish innovation, and the various illustrations in the collection combine to tell a story all their own.

It is Artek's hope that the Moomin collection will inspire imagination during playtime and activities. 

February 18
Here Come the Moomins

 

 

"Scandinavian Design" is a common phrase these days, appearing in design publications, marketing initiatives, and exhibitions with great frequency. What is at the heart of this aesthetic that has become so widespread and dearly loved?

Scandinavian Design as we recognize it emerged in the 1950s. A post-WWII focus on democracy and economic rebuilding led thought-leaders like Alvar Aalto and Ilmari Tapiovaara to create beautiful and functional everyday objects that were accessible to the wider population. This democracy of design created an aesthetic that was characterized by simplicity, functionalism, and minimalism. 

Scandinavian Design is also inspired by the concept of "Hygge", a Danish word referring to the concept of coziness, especially in relation to the company of close friends or the comfort of good food. Scandinavian Design evokes this sense of warmth and well-being in the fewest elements possible, for a look that is clean and simple but also inviting. In the words of Alvar Aalto, "Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form."

Often paired in Scandinavian Design are white walls and natural wooden floors. This brightens open spaces by maximizing light, and accents of bright, cheerful colors add to this clean, energetic look.

Still curious about the Scandinavian aesthetic? See the work of Finnish Design Masters, or browse the Artek collection.