Tung Chiang: "My favourite Aalto chair - now also Aalto’s favourite."

Tung Chiang: "My favourite Aalto chair - now also Aalto’s favourite."


Easy to maintain, repair, and repurpose, Artek’s designs are made to last. Many of our friends and collaborators have lived with an Artek piece for years. We asked them to share a story about their favourite one and why it brings them joy.

In response, Tung Chiang sent us a letter.


The first time I saw the Aalto Chair 45 in person must have been when I went to the Aalto home and studio in Helsinki. I wasn’t familiar with the chair, and the first encounter made a great impression. As an armchair, it feels a bit more formal than Chair 69. And instead of the famous L-legs, it features two bent pieces of wood that combine armrest and legs in one. There are a few variations of the chair that I know of: leather, rattan, and cross-woven webbing. My favourite element is the armrest, which has been widened for comfort with an extra piece of wood and ingeniously wrapped in rattan. I remember how great it felt to sit in that chair for the first time at the Aalto home.


It took me years to find a pair of Chair 45s for myself. Their webbing and frames have been faded by the sun. I always like aged Aalto. It reveals a bit of history and story.

At my home in San Francisco, the chairs occupy a place by the window. Usually, I avoid putting furniture in direct sunlight, but these two seem made for the spot.


I have a five-year-old terrier mix named Aalto, well trained and never allowed on furniture. One night near the beginning of California’s shelter-in-place directive, we were watching TV together when she quietly settled into one of the chairs. I contained my urge to shoo her off and decided to just let it be. Now she returns to the chair every night to watch her favourite shows, mostly on the animal channel.

My favourite Aalto chair – now also Aalto’s favourite.

Armchair 45 was designed in 1947 by Alvar Aalto and remained in production until 2014. It was the chair Aalto himself used in his architecture studio.

Similar chairs in the Artek Collection

Reading Room

Artek Reading Room

Read more stories from the Artek world here

Browse through the full collection of Artek news and stories.