Alvar Aalto

Born in Kuortane, Finland, the architect is one of the masters of modern architecture. Designing both houses and public buildings, Aalto created his own brand of modernism, which adhered to the implementation of modern materials, open plan living and form following function; yet which also had a connection to nature. This culminated in a distinct use of organic curves and birch wood in his structures, which derived from his upbringing in a stark Finnish forest. His buildings connect to their surroundings, as seen in a home designed for Maire and Harry Gullichsen, Villa Mairea. The Villa, set within the wooded region of Noormarkku, has an entranceway marked by a bold wooden loggia, which undulates away from the linear white facade of the building. 

This tactile and organic approach to design can equally be seen in his furniture designs for his company Artek. The manufacturer was founded in 1935, alongside Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The natural forms of their plywood birch furniture encapsulate Aalto's natural and human take on modernism. 

However, his individuality and celebratory Scandinavian designs have translated internationally; they have a timelessness and appreciation across the world.

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