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Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is the most prestigious Finnish architect of the last century, and the father of Nordic Modernism. He once said, "God created paper for the purpose of drawing architecture on it. Everything else is at least for me an abuse of paper." In the U.S. Aalto's critical reception began with his design for the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 World Fair in New York: Frank Lloyd Wright described it as a "work of genius." After World War II, Aalto also designed MIT's student dormitory. Prior to this, the architect's Paimio Sanatorium (1929) and Viipuri Library (1935), both in Finland, had already attracted international praise. He was also an outstanding town planner, painter and sculptor. Aalto's Modernism entailed the use of natural materials, warm colors, and undulating lines, and he is considered an important early exponent of Organic Design as a result. Of his design work outside of architecture, Aalto's vases, lamps, glassware and laminated bent-plywood furniture (pioneered and produced through the design company he co-founded, Artek) are equally esteemed. Iconic pieces include the Savoy Vase, the Paimio Chair and the Beehive Lamp. This monograph on Aalto's highly collectible furniture designs expands our understanding of the diverse abilities of this influential architect/designer.
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