Armchair 402

By Alvar Aalto

In the late 1920s Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), together with carpenter Otto Korhonen, built on the rich legacy of Thonet’s bent plywood furniture (1836) using the same principles of heating and gluing wood, to make comfortable chairs that offered a warm alternative to stark tubular steel furniture. Aalto’s cantilevered wooden Armchair 402 was first presented at the international design exhibition Triennale di Milano in 1933, and can be seen as a continuation of the Armchair 42 (1932) which was used for the common-rooms at the Paimio Sanatorium (1933). The textile zebra was designed by the Croatian weaver and textile designer Otti Berger (1898-1944) who was a student and later teacher at the Bauhaus school in Dessau. The Swiss interior store chain Wohnbedarf used Berger’s zebra fabric on several of Alvar Aalto’s furniture, which for example could be seen in the interior of Theatre Corso Restaurant in Zurich (1934). After Aino Aalto had seen the zebra fabric while on a trip around Europe in the summer of 1935, she started to place orders for it. And after Aino and Alvar Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl had founded the furniture company Artek in the winter of 1935, the zebra textile started to be frequently used and quickly became synonymous with the company and its products. (Photos by Jens Andersson)

Edition: Produced by Artek in Finland 2002

20 copies in total, previously used at The Jewish Theatre in Stockholm 

Condition: Good

Dimensions: Width 610, length 700, height 760mm

Materials: Frame: Form-bent solid birch lamella, clear lacquer

Made in Finland

Design: 1933

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