Last week I was invited to the Artek launch party at the Vitra showroom near Amsterdam. In september 2013, Vitra acquired the Finnish company Artek. A renowned design company founded in 1935 in Finland by architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl.
Artek was built upon the radical business plan to “sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational means.”Artek has become one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, building on the heritage of Alvar Aalto.
One chair is enough! Slogan written on the box of the stools designed in 1933 by Alvar Aalto…. Compared to the stools with the linoleum seat, the one on the left has an alternative pattern.
We were welcomed by Dutch Vitra managing director Erik Kramers and managing director of Artek, Mirkku Kullberg, who took us through the story of Artek. A few years ago they only had one supplier and 6 clients, till they decided to go international and opened a sales point in Tokyo, Japan.
Trying to expand different approaches and collaborations they opened a showroom in Berlin in 2010 and nowadays also their head office can be found in ‘Der Tages spiegel’ building in Berlin. A special collaboration with Andreas Murkudis (one of my favorite stores in Berlin!) was established in 2012.
Vitra showroom, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Netherlands
Vitra helped Artek to buy their old factory and all products are still made in Finland, the acquisition is a great opportunity for Artek and the Finnish design sector says Mirrku Kullberg.
The Artek collection comprises design furniture and lighting fixtures by the Nordic masters Alvar Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Tapio Wirkkala and Eero Aarnio. The latest addition to the portfolio consists of products by Yrjö Kukkapuro. The masterpiece of Kukkapuro, the Karuselli chair, will be re-launched on the market in the beginning of the year 2014. In addition to classics, Artek is also launching new generation design products under the Artek Studio brand.