In autumn 2016, the Finnish design company Artek opens two satellites of its flagship store Artek Helsinki: one in Antwerp, Belgium and one in Berlin, Germany.
In September 2016, Artek Antwerp opened as a shop-within-a-shop in Iittala’s Antwerp store on Korte Gasthuisstraat. Offering a design experience on 45 square metres in the heart of the city, the store invites visitors to discover Artek’s unique collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories. The partnership with Finnish glass manufacturer Iittala is a natural fit: both brands celebrate the synthesis of aesthetics and functionality, offer products of timeless design, and share a similar design heritage and the same design protagonists.
End of November 2016, Artek Berlin opened in the concept shopping mall Bikini Berlin, where it took over the former Vitra Artek store opened in 2014. Spread across 200 square metres, Artek Berlin presents the brand’s collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories together with products by like-minded companies such as Vitra, String, and Comme des Garçons. As a special treat, Artek Berlin also offers a selection of products from Artek 2nd Cycle, the initiative started by Artek to give pre-loved Artek classics a new lease on life. The Artek Berlin range is complemented with carefully selected accessories from both established and young designers, with a special focus on local talent.
When Artek was created in 1935, the initial impetus was to professionalise the international distribution of the furniture designed by the Aaltos. But from the start, the new furniture business was also closely tied to a cultural mission that went far beyond purely commercial considerations.
The Artek Helsinki store was opened in 1936 in a modern, functionalist space. Here, Alvar Aalto’s radically new furniture was presented together with lighting, plants, textiles, Moroccan carpets, glass and ceramic objects along with other handcrafted work. Temporary sales exhibitions were introduced as a novel way of showing design and art. Artek played a pioneering role in introducing ground-breaking international artists to the Finnish public – its numerous exhibitions included work by Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso.
After relocating once in 1954 and again in 1991, Artek Helsinki returned to its geographical roots in March 2016 when the new flagship store was opened in an Eliel Saarinen designed building on Helsinki’s main pedestrian street, Keskuskatu.
Today, Artek Helsinki organises multiple events and collaborates with Finnish and international artists, designers, and authors, retaining its cultural and community-driven role in the city. Meanwhile, the satellite stores Artek Antwerp and Artek Berlin will carry out Artek’s mission of bringing Finland to the world by introducing the brand’s Finnish and international design collaborations to several markets in continental Europe.
Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.”
In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative contributor to modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture, and art. The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers. It stands for clarity, functionality, and poetic simplicity.
For more than 80 years, Artek’s products have enriched public spaces, museums, schools, restaurants, hotels, shops, and countless private homes all over the world.
The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, also home to the Flagship Store Artek Helsinki and the Artek 2nd Cycle Store.