Aalto Armchair 400
Product DescriptionAt the Milan Triennial in 1936, Alvar Aalto unveiled his design for this historic easy chair. The seat lets you relax in comfort, with its solid wood frame, metal springs, and upholstered foam.
Wide, sturdy armrests. Made of bent, laminated birch. Receptive feel. Aalto opened his closed-loop models, like the Armchair 41, to create this cantilevered design. Generous size. The seat is 23 1/2" deep, 21 3/4" wide, and 14 5/8" high--great for lounging. Distinctive Aesthetic, Zebra print. This fun upholstery adds dramatic flair to the simple chair shape; other upholstery options are also available. Handsome profile. With its low-slung look and solid shape, the chair was affectionately nicknamed the "tank." Beautiful patina. Birch ages gracefully, taking on a rich, honey color. Environmentally Sound. Good wood. Birch is a nontropical, renewable resource; two birch trees are planted for every one used in the production of Aalto furniture. Less waste, less glue. Laminates are 3-mm thick, so fewer plies and less glue are used. Handcrafted. Less industrial processing is needed. Durable. Aalto furniture is built to last from generation to generation.
Alvar Aalto began designing furnishing in the late 1920s as a natural extension of his architectural projects. To Aalto, a piece of furniture was not simply an isolated object. He saw furniture as part of a harmonious interior. In fact, he described furniture and architecture as branches of the same tree. Born in Finland in 1898, invoking nature was typical--and natural--for Aalto. Finland's forests and lake landscapes were an unending source of inspiration and spiritual renewal for him. Nature offered countless themes to which he applied his own interpretation. From this philosophical foundation, he and a handful of fellow designers started a movement against what they viewed as the dehumanizing impact of the Machine Age. So he posed what was considered a radical alternative. He brought a human perspective to design and, in the process, became a pioneer of modernism. His message: aesthetics and functionality belong to all.
Yet Aalto did not turn his back on technology. Rather, he viewed art and technology as inextricably linked and developed innovative production methods that allowed him to mold birch into organic, curvilinear shapes. The idea of opening up his closed loop frame so that it could provide a springiness similar to that of cantilevered, tubular chairs was simple to formulate, but difficult to achieve. The first satisfactory results were reached when the tubular base of a child's chair was translated into a base of laminated birch. An adult chair with a springy base of wood was shown for the first time in Helsinki, Finland in 1932. To this day, his simple, functional, and beautiful designs fit right in. The Armchair 400 is one of his most successful designs, and it is part of Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.