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Excellent design isn't only for the home. Creating environments that are functional, enjoyable, and sustainable is essential to the strength of the community, expressed in the design of public and recreational spaces. A café hosts friends, strangers, solitary workers and social butterflies, demanding design that is versatile, unobtrusive, and beautiful. It's no wonder then that in these spaces where people gather for refreshment and leisure, Artek is frequently to be found. Artek's economy of form and timelessly beautiful shapes are an elegant solution to the needs of busy spaces that still strive for a relaxed atmosphere. Here, we've collected some of our favorite recent installations of Artek in café spaces the world over. 

1. Happy Bones in New York City (also pictured above)

Happy Bones aspires to excellence and inspiration with every drink they serve. Sleek black Stool 60s complete their industrial modern look. 

2. Nothing Happens for a Reason Café in Turku, Finland 

 

 

German artist Tobias Rehberger collaborated with Artek for this 2001 Installation at Logomo.

 

 3. Cafe Cubus Ateneum in Helsinki, Finland

Shigeru Ban's 10-unit system creates a breathtakingly clean effect in the 3rd floor café at the Ateneum Art Museum.

 

4. Budin in New York City

Budin serves specialty Scandinavian coffees, including a licorice latte, and also offers Scandinavian goods for sale, like Stool 60

 

5. Starbucks in Helsinki, Finland

Housed in a building designed by Alvar Aalto, the interior was crafted to be a cohesive experience of Finnish design. 

 

Have you spotted Artek while out on the town? Send us your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 

 

In 1937, Maire Gullischen commissioned Alvar Aalto to design a summer home for her family in Noormarkku, Finland, setting the stage for his seminal contribution to the world of architecture: Villa Mairea.

 

 

 

The Villa Mairea entrance, featuring the free-form canopy. © Alvar Aalto Museum

Maire and husband Harry Gullischen shared with Aalto a philosophical belief in technology's positive influence on society. Through better manufacturing and the democratization of high-quality goods, life in Finland would improve for the population at large. In Alvar and his wife Aino, the Gullischen's had found designers who were capable of expressing these ideas through architectural form.

 

Interior entryway and staircase. © andrewpaulcarr on Flickr

The Gullischens gave Aalto carte blanche in conceiving the new structure, urging him to think of it as "an experimental house." He did not disappoint. Aalto designed the home over and over, attempting to create a dialogue between the rigidness of standardized forms, and the freedom of curved, organic lines. Even after work on the structure's foundations had begun, Aalto made adjustments to the design. 

 

The Conservatory served as Maire Gullischen's stuido. © Alvar Aalto Museum.

Aalto also tailored the home's design to Maire's love for art; she had trained as an artist and was an avid collector. In fact, her desire to promote progressive culture through art would eventually form the groundwork for founding Artek with the Aaltos and Nils-Gustav Hahl. While initial concepts for Villa Mairea established receiving rooms and a separate gallery for her pieces, the final design called for one inventively spacious area where, in the architect's words, an occupant could have "‘a personal relationship to the phenomena of art."

 

Interior receiving room. © h ssan on Flickr.

The final structure would combine elements from traditional Finnish style, Aalto's modernist influences, and Japanese motifs (Alvar and Aino were good friends with the Japanese ambassador at this time). Aino Aalto designed the interiors, featuring Alvar's furniture designs and the Gullischen's art collection prominently. Today, Villa Mairea is open for tours, and visitors can explore in person how diverse architectural concepts were masterfully combined in one cohesive structure, exploring the human relationship to nature in a newly modern time. 

You can learn more about Villa Mairea on the official website for the exhibition produced by the Alvar Aalto Museum

 

 

We check in often on Instagram to see how Artek designs are being used all over the world. Among the beautiful homes and smart table settings, our social media team made one particularly heartwarming discovery: pets love Artek, too! We couldn't be happier about this combination of furry friends and Finnish style, because when Artek creates a design for the home, we're really designing for living, for life, for the things that bring you joy. Shake off the lingering Winter weather with these cozy snapshots of four-legged design enthusiasts.

Photo above: @completekim

1. Two friends cozy up with the Siena throw.

 

 

 Photo by @tarja.rantala

2. This green-eyed beauty appreciates clean lines in design.

Photo by @cipher100

3. Not just for drinks! Ruka enjoys the 900 Tea Trolley's versatility. 

Photo by @heidipekkala

4. Siena or H55? This pug just can't choose one. 

Photo by @yumipomme

5. This Frenchie demonstrates stackability with these custom Stool 60s.

Photo by @trs0609

6. This pretty poodle tends a garden on top of Stool 60 in olive green. 

 

 

Photo by @re.30

7. He's doing his best to camouflage among the cushions, but Siena may be giving him away. 

 

 

Photo by @kumi147cm

8. Naps are best begun nose-first in H55. 

 

 

Photo by @majohuuh

9. This british blue is caught admiring the iconic L-shaped Aalto design. 

Photo by @aarretta

10. He's just waiting for the door to close to nap on the Chair 66. 

Photo by @anttifromvallila

11. A Scandinavian scene that couldn't be cozier.

 

 

Photo by @giormatimie

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March 11
Artek Loves Pets