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Alvar Aalto

Alvar Aalto

Finland, 1898 – 1976

Finland’s most famous architect and designer, Alvar Aalto reshaped the architecture and furniture of public buildings on the basis of functionality and the organic relationship between man, nature and buildings. He is known as the “Father of Modernism.”

Born in 1898 in Finland, Alvar Aalto studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, graduating with a degree in architecture. In 1924 Aalto and his wife honeymooned in Italy. The Mediterranean culture had a profound influence on Aalto’s creative process, blending his Nordic intellect with the natural ornamentation of Northern Italian landscape and architecture. In 1927 the Aaltos moved to the city of Turku in Finland. Aalto designed the Paimio Sanatorium, a building that elevated him to the status of master of heroic functionalism. His design for the Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, is one of the most admired private residences in contemporary architecture.

In 1933 Aalto moved to Helsinki. There he founded his architecture firm, Artek, where he executed major international commissions, such as the Finnish Pavilions for the 1936 Paris World Fair and the 1939-1940 New York’s World Fair. Aalto’s architecture, furniture and glassware evokes multiple allusions to images of unspoiled nature. Aalto’s creativity was deeply rooted in his own organic way of life and the traditions of the Scandinavian countries. Aalto was featured on the last series of the 50 Finnish mark bill, before the Euro was introduced. He died in 1976 in Helsinki, Finland.

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