The tea trolley was inspired by British tea culture, which Aino and Alvar Aalto had become acquainted with though their many travels, as well as by the Japanese woodwork and architecture they admired. With a frame composed of two birch lamella loops, Tea Trolley 901 features two shelves and a solid birch handle. Twin wheels, in combination with the lightweight quality of birch, mean the trolley can be easily maneuvered and parked at will. Over the years, numerous variations of the Tea Trolley have been produced. Dutch designer and color expert Hella Jongerius delved into Artek’s archives to offer her own take on one of Alvar Aalto’s most cherished products. Her subtle interventions resulted in a light and a dark version of the trolley, which play with the shifting light on the product’s upper and lower trays.
- Natural lacquered birch, shelves with white IKI HPL
- White wheels, Black rubber ring
- Height: 56 cm / 22 inch
- Width: 90 cm / 35 1/2 inch
- Depth: 50 cm / 19 3/4 inch
Artek was founded in 1935 by Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The business idea of the company was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational means.” That was the beginning of Artek.
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. Alvar Aalto’s furniture represents an interpretation of Scandinavian modernism articulated primarily in Finnish birch wood. Wood and functionality are both hallmarks of the Artek collection. The Artek portfolio represents the most comprehensive collection of wooden design furniture in the world.
Artek has international sales offices in New York, Berlin, Stockholm and Tokyo. The domestic market accounts for 60% of the company’s turnover, with Artek holding a solid position in the Finnish consumer and contract market. Vitra’s design classics have for a number of years been an important part of Artek’s collection for the Finnish market. Artek operates four stores in Finland, as well as a wide retail network.
Artek Tea Trolley 901 Designed by:
- Alvar Aalto , 1936
Finland, 1898 – 1976
Finland’s most famous architect and designer, Alvar Aalto reshaped the architecture and furniture of public buildings on the basis of functionality and the organic relationship between man, nature and buildings. He is known as the “Father of Modernism.”
Born in 1898 in Finland, Alvar Aalto studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, graduating with a degree in architecture. In 1924 Aalto and his wife honeymooned in Italy. The Mediterranean culture had a profound influence on Aalto’s creative process, blending his Nordic intellect with the natural ornamentation of Northern Italian landscape and architecture. In 1927 the Aaltos moved to the city of Turku in Finland. Aalto designed the Paimio Sanatorium, a building that elevated him to the status of master of heroic functionalism. His design for the Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, is one of the most admired private residences in contemporary architecture.
In 1933 Aalto moved to Helsinki. There he founded his architecture firm, Artek, where he executed major international commissions, such as the Finnish Pavilions for the 1936 Paris World Fair and the 1939-1940 New York’s World Fair. Aalto’s architecture, furniture and glassware evokes multiple allusions to images of unspoiled nature. Aalto’s creativity was deeply rooted in his own organic way of life and the traditions of the Scandinavian countries. Aalto was featured on the last series of the 50 Finnish mark bill, before the Euro was introduced. He died in 1976 in Helsinki, Finland.