Alvar Aalto

Chair, model no. 21. Designed 1932.
Manufactured by Artek, Finland and retailed by New Furniture, Inc/Artek-Pascoe, ca. 1938-47.
Molded laminated birch and birch plywood

This is a rare example of the model to have been made for the American market in the 1930s, having previously been in the collection of the Hugh Stubbins House, Lexington, MA. It dates to the early years of distribution in the USA, when Laurance Rockefeller set up a firm to handle the American market in conjunction with the 1938 Aalto exhibition at MoMA. Most of the early American owners of this model seem to have been architects who were affiliated with either MoMA or Harvard/MIT. Hugh Stubbins, who studied with Walter Gropius and succeeded him as department chair at Harvard, almost certainly knew Aalto in the 1940s. I prefer this model over its Paimio Sanitorium prototype, which was an awkward fusion of bent ply and tubular steel.