Something Fantastic: "To us, it's a chair in the making."

Something Fantastic: "To us, it's a chair in the making."


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, Something Fantastic shared their view on an unfinished piece of furniture.

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Armchair 26 from 1932 is a special Aalto favourite of ours. Not because it’s the most refined or the most practical, but rather because of its ambiguities.

With its supporting frame made out of bent metal tubing, Armchair 26 seems to reference the chairs developed at the Bauhaus a little earlier in the 1920s. Yet, it already showcases experiments with bent plywood, a material that was to become associated more strongly with Aalto than anyone else.

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The ease and directness with which both materials come together enable the plywood to be more extrovert and daring in its form than maybe some of the later, more elegant models. Yet there is an intriguing unfinishedness to how the two materials are screwed together, one atop the other. To us, it's a chair in the making, a chair conscious of what is happening elsewhere, a chair that still has places to go. It is timeless in its prototypical appearance — and therefore always contemporary, both in its approach to form-finding through collaging as well as its final design. At the same time, it’s a mind-boggling testament to Aalto's freethinking if one pictures the chair in its context of development: Finland in the early 1930s.

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We have the armchair in the office and at home, and in both settings it’s not only a reminder to go beyond, but it also complements (and often outshines) the prototypes of our own practice that surround it.

P.S. Thinking of the current Artek product range we think the Rope Chair is somehow quite close in spirit …

Armchair 26 was originally designed in 1932 by Alvar Aalto for the Paimio Sanatorium, a healing facility for patients suffering from tuberculosis.

Products close in spirit according to Something Fantastic