Dezeen Magazine

Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto

Artek buys factory where Alvar Aalto developed his furniture

News: Finnish furniture brand Artek has acquired the production facilities that were used by its co-founder Modernist architect Alvar Aalto to develop his signature bent wood furniture.

HKT Korhonen, a factory founded by Otto Korhonen near the Finnish city of Turku, has been used by Artek ever since the furniture company was founded by Aalto, his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl in 1935.

After Artek was sold to the Swiss design brand Vitra in September, the new owners bought HKT Korhonen to maintain the continuity and further development of Aalto's products.

"Under its new owner, Artek comes into contact with a significantly larger and more international market," said a statement from the brand. "When the chain of operations also includes manufacture, production can be developed to better serve a continuously evolving and growing market."

Armchair 41 by Alvar Aalto for Paimio Sanatorium
Aalto designs produced at the factory include Armchair 41 (this image) and Stool 60 (main image)

Artek's core archive comprises Aalto's birch wood furniture designs, which were originally created in cooperation with Otto Korhonen's factory. These designs include Armchair 41 created for the Paimio Sanatorium that Aalto completed in 1932 and Stool 60, the much-copied classic that's been in continuous production since 1933.

The statement adds that "a proprietary manufacturing company also offers a framework for product development at Artek."In recent years the brand has been collaborating with high-profile contemporary designers, including Shigeru Ban and Naoto Fukasawa, to develop new products.

The buy-out by Vitra in September was intended to give Artek a more international presence. Speaking about the deal at the time, Artek CEO Mirkku Kullberg said: "The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek's founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalised."

Artek will make the next major presentation of its portfolio at the Stockholm Furniture Fair next week.