Domus Chair

Linda Bergroth: “My love affair with rescue chairs is still going strong.”


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, Linda Bergroth sent us a story about a lucky find.


My grandmother, a hat maker by trade and entrepreneur at heart, was always working on a lot of projects. In addition to several hat shops, she also ran a couple of dance halls and a cinema. She was constantly on the road, though technically the family had a home in Helsinki. The Aalto office was commissioned to do the interior – as well, later, of a small hotel my grandmother opened in Mäntyharju. By the time I was born, the hotel was a distant memory. There wasn’t even a single photograph of it. What did remain was plenty of the original furniture, in bits and parts.

These pieces were such an inspiration to me as a child. I was constantly assembling, painting, and upholstering them to make new creations. In addition to laminated L-legs, there were also a lot of legs with finger joints. I definitely preferred the bent pieces and would only use the finger-joint legs if nothing else was available. I didn’t learn until later that the latter were quite rare, largely produced during the war as part of an effort to save glue.


I was always allowed and encouraged to use these parts in whatever way I wanted. Later, when I started to browse flea markets, I realized I wasn’t the only one with this passion. I was always thrilled to find classic pieces, wildly customised and very affordable.

The layers of paint, the legs shortened or repaired – it was a fascinating way to study the many lives of a single stool. Broken legs had been repaired in every manner possible, using nails, bolts, and glues of all varieties. Rows of nails underneath the seats showed how a chair had been reupholstered many times.

My love affair with rescue chairs is still going strong. I have salvaged Artek furniture in all my homes. One of my best finds was a set of 14 Domus chairs for 100 euros. They were originally seats for a cinema in Nilsiä, a small town in Finland. One had a seat number on the back, and all of them had a hole underneath so they could be connected in rows. A lot of them had been outside under the rain, and some had big daisies drawn on them with finger paints.


When we renovated our holiday home, our builder disassembled the chairs and used the pieces to construct nine more or less functioning chairs plus a bonus one with missing corners on both the seat and backrest. This spring when the pandemic started, we relocated ourselves to the country house and, like everyone else, established a home office in every corner we could find. Of all the chairs we have, the one I find myself in most frequently is the quirky one with missing corners. Maybe the fact that it’s been rejected by so many people makes me like it even more.


Items from this story