“Great ideas arise from the small details of life.” Alvar Aalto
My earliest memory of seeing Aalto’s iconic STOOL60 was at the dining room of my parent’s house. Our grandparents lived with us and we often had guests, so extra chairs were always needed. When the stools weren’t being used, they were cleverly stacked and stored away in one corner of the room. I didn’t know at the time that the stool had been designed by one of the most famous architects of the twentieth century but I was aware it had been “designed” with its function in mind. The image of the beautifully stacked stools have stayed with me ever since.
A few summers ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Alvar Aalto’s former house and studio in Munkkiniemi, a suburb of Helsinki. The house is surprisingly modest, reserved and cosy - considering it was designed by an architect with such a radical reputation - but the spirit of functional and ecological design is clear. The house and studio are enriched by a mix of natural materials, organic forms and the use of space, along with iconic furniture designed by he and his wife. The house is a great example of how good design and function go hand in hand.