In his designs, Alvar Aalto combined Scandinavian craft traditions and his own affinity to nature with the functional ideas of the Bauhaus. This led to an exchange of ideas with Marcel Breuer, which later influenced the work of both men.
Armchair No. 42 was presented for the first time at an exhibition held in conjunction with the Nordic Building Forum in 1932. With a simple three-part construction, the design ensures a high degree of comfort: the cantilever base flexes in response to the user’s weight and the plywood seat shell follows the contours of the body. In recognition of its pleasant tactile qualities and favourable insulating properties, Aalto executed the chair in natural birchwood with a black or white lacquer finish for the seat shell.
- Armrests: laminated birch, natural stain
- Seat/backrest: birch plywood, black lacquer finish
- Height: 12 cm / 4 3/4 inch
- Width: 10 cm / 4 inch
- Depth: 12 cm / 4 3/4 inch
- Each miniature is packaged in a wooden box, accompanied by an informational booklet.
- Each of the delicate objects are made by hand; on average, each miniature requires five hours of careful manual work. Ongoing quality control ensures that every miniature corresponds to its larger original in terms of finishing, details and materials.
Twenty years ago the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein began making miniature replicas of the great milestones in furniture design housed in its collection. A summary of the history of industrial furniture design – moving from the historic and art nouveau to the new Bauhaus’ radical design, and from postmodernism all the way up until the present day – the collection has grown to include more than 100 pieces. The chairs are all one sixth of the size of the originals. They are all true to scale and replicate the originals right down to the smallest details in construction, material and color.
Vitra Miniatures Armchair Nr. 42 Designed by:
- Alvar Aalto , 1932
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.