Bouroullec A Ronan; An Erwan; An unassuming, poetic, connection. The contemporary Bouroullec can be traced back to the Old Breton boureller, a saddler, an upholsterer, and largely owes its contemporary definition to the work of the brothers Ronan le Renard...
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Artek and modernist avant-garde design
Founded in Helsinki in 1935 by the four young idealists Alvar Aalto, his wife Aino Aalto, the art collector Maire Gullichsen and the art historian Nils Gustav Hahl, Artek can be described as an avant-garde showcase project. Something alluded to in the word "Artek": a fusion of "art" and "technology" and thus symbolising the demand of the 1920s modernist movement that art and technology should unify to enable the opening of new possibilities. This motto, personally proclaimed in Germany by the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, also connected the Artek founders, who formulated their views – typically for the avant-garde – in a manifesto. Their aim was to create completely new environments for everyday life based on Alvar Aalto's design concept. With this claim, Artek developed into one of the most important protagonists in the field of modern design and one of the most innovative companies in Finland. Characteristic was and is Alvar Aalto's approach to developing standardized, individual components that can be easily put together and thus form comprehensive furniture series. The best and most famous example here is Alvar Aalto's "L-leg": a defining feature of Artek, and which is used in numerous seating and table designs by Alvar Aalto. The L-leg also reflects Aalto's fascination for the material wood, a further defining feature of Artek furniture. After long experiments with bent wood, Aalto invented the L-leg at the end of the 1920s, a genuine innovation at the time and still a unique, functional and elegant solution today.
Artek furniture - from classic to contemporary
Although Artek was originally supposed to cover the production and sale of Alvar Aalto's furniture designs, the Artek repertoire grew increasingly in the course of the 20th century and today the company's portfolio includes furniture, furnishings and lights and is characterized by clarity, functionality and simplicity. In addition to the work of leading Finnish protagonists of Scandinavian modernism, such as Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara or Tapio Wirkkala, the Artek portfolio also includes designs by internationally renowned, contemporary designers such as Daniel Rybakken, Hella Jongerius or Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Artek has flagship stores in Helsinki and Tokyo as well as sales offices in New York, Berlin, Stockholm and Tokyo. Artek Deutschland GmbH was opened in 2012 as a European sales centre in Berlin. Artek has been part of the Swiss furniture company Vitra since 2013, but is still active as an independent brand.
Sustainable design from Finland
Artek furniture is almost exclusively produced in Finland and primarily in the so-called A-factory in Turku; a factory which was originally founded by Otto Korhonen, who was already making Alvar Aalto's furniture there in the late 1920s and experimenting with bending wood. In the spirit of Aalto, Artek continues to rely on modern series production in connection with traditional carpentry. Today the A-factory in Turku specializes in bending solid and laminated wood as well as in traditional joinery and painting. Artek mainly processes spruce and birch wood from Finnish forests. All wood is FSC-certified and is checked by hand before entering the production stream. A principle that is as simple as it is logical in terms of sustainability at Artek is that every piece of furniture should last at least as long as a tree needs time to grow. Sustainability, the processing of regional raw materials and safety also guarantee ethical production processes and the highest quality at Artek and all Artek partners.
smow sells exclusively originals from licensed manufacturers and is an official trading partner of Artek.
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