The iconic Stool 60, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933, turns a venerable 80 this year. Stool 60 is Artek’s best selling product and one of the most famous design classics of all time internationally. Stool 60 represents a crystallization of the values of Artek concerning the importance of technology, art and ethics.
For the anniversary Artek has released many colourful special editions for Stool 60. These are available throughout the year 2013.
The colours of the Stool 60 Anniversary Edition are taken directly from Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium (1929–1933): the yellow of the floors, the green of the walls, the turquoise of the handrails and walls, and the orange, white and black of the furniture. Paimio Sanatorium (1929–1933) is considered to be the most important functionalist building by Alvar Aalto.
Stool 60 collection designed by German Designer and Artist Mike Meiré includes six fresh colour variations of Stool 60, with each stool in three or four different colours.
The special edition of Stool 60 by Mike Meiré plays with the Stool’s plain forms. Meiré’s special edition features four differently coloured ‘characters’: firstly, the red/black/white/birch Stool, whose colour combination recalls the architectural Bauhaus movement. The second character demonstrates a more industrial approach with a fresh sulfur yellow breaking up the harmonious interplay of black, white and birch. The third design expresses a sensitive mood, airy like a perfume with pure birch and white with light pink. The fourth character reveals a 1980s twist: its minty turquoise recalls one of the ultimate fashionable colours in what might have been one of the most experimental decades of the last century. Together with the birch and the black, it again represents a strong contemporary statement.
“I believe you should only change classics when people have become very familiar with them. Suddenly, they can rediscover something they already know. This kind of surprise creates a moment of newness,” says Meiré when talking about his thoughts behind the edition. “Three legs circling around a round seat – the Stool is in permanent movement. Therefore I decided to create a little disorder within this structure by giving each leg its own colour. When moving around the Stool, it constantly reveals new perspectives. Like when the day develops from morning to evening, our emotions change accordingly too.” – Mike Meiré
“For the love of polka dots”.
The Stool 60 by Rei Kawakubo is made of white lacquered wood with black dots on legs and seat.
Rei Kawakubo, is a Japanese fashion designer, founder of fashion house Comme des Garçons. Besides fashion Kawakubo is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising and shop interiors believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked.
“Contained within a single tree is its unabridged chronicle year by year, never skipping a beat, it records its history slowly. Some lines speak of seasons of plenty, while others cry of famine. The size of the rings are never the same. Each engraving bears witness to battles waged in the name of survival. To observe such is to humble ourselves to nature’s love of life.”
This celebration was created by layering upon the Alvar Aalto Stool's beautiful geometric shape, a complex and organic graphic of life. My hope is that the Artek “Stool 60” will evoke the bounty of nature as seen by the passage of 80 years of time. – Nao Tamura
“I like stripes vol. 2” designed by Danish Fashion Designer Mads Nørgaard.
“Being a fashion designer, my earliest memories are related to second hand men's wear. And one of my favourite garments is the Harris Tweed, especially in a heering bone weaving. So for the Stool I wanted to bring a textile feeling, and took inspiration in my old favourites.” – Mads Nørgaard
Vol. 2 design is a stool made of birch with a black printed pattern.
“The fluorescent orange that I chose for Aalto Stool 60 is the simplest way to draw attention to this ultra simple piece of classic minimalism which is well known that often people don't notice it any more . This high-visibility paint is used most often in emergency , rescue , and warning situations and rarely in the interior design space. Aalto was a great lover of bright colours, and I can imagine that he too might have been fascinated by these extreme hues.” – Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon was Artek’s creative director 2004-2009.
The special edition by Monocle Stool is upholstered with Finnish moose leather. The texture of the leather is elegant and at the same time rugged and comfortable, since the scars and other marks of life are visible. Intriguing details at the bottom of the Stool are the black iron nails and brass screws which will age gracefully over time.
Stool 60 Pure is the original three-legged stool designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933. As the name implies, the stool is made of natural birch wood with a soft delicate surface that preserves the traces of everyday life and builds up a beautiful patina.
A legendary story started 80 years ago when Alvar Aalto tested the sturdiness of his three-legged stool by repeatedly throwing the prototype to the floor at the Korhonen furniture factory. He shouted excitedly: “We’ll make thousands of these one day!” He could not have known that he was holding the chair of which Artek would sell millions of copies.
Stool 60 was first introduced to the international public at the Wood Only exhibition in London in November 1933, to rave reviews. The simple, stackable and durable wooden stool represented a new approach to furniture design. The use of wood instead of bent steel was revolutionary at the time. Aalto spent several years working on the stool’s design on the development of its curved, L-shaped legs in cooperation with technical experts from the Korhonen furniture company. The result of this cooperation was a durable and technically advanced design solution which provided the basis for many subsequent design classics.