invited – a home tour of Alvar Aalto ‘s residence. I was invited on the tour by Habitare and this post is written on my own accord.
a brief history before the tour
Alvar Aalto, one of my design heroes and one the most influential architects and designers for modernism and functionalism. Aalto (1898-1976) qualified as an architect in 1921, setting up his first architectural practice in Jyväskylä, Finland. His architectural style at that time had principles of Nordic Classicism, a dominant style of throughout nordic countries. He designed many houses and public buildings such as the Jyväskylä Workers’ Club (his first public building).
During the late 20’s and early 30’s Aalto’s style shifted from the Nordic Classicism to a modernist style of Functionalism. Core principles of Functionalism in architecture were “designed based solely on the purpose and function of the building” , constructed purely for practical purposes, a ‘form follows function’ mindset. This also could be linked to the Accepera! manifesto written by Gunnar Esplund in the 1930’s where soon after functionalism and ‘funkis’ architecture emerged throughout the nordic countries.
Alvar Aalto had countless trips around Europe in the 1930’s his wife at the time, Aino Aalto. He often took inspiration from his travels, sketching the classical buildings of Italy. The Aalto name became internationally famous for his great success in architecture and product design. Some may argue more popular than Le Corbusier.
He co-founded the company Artek with his wife at the time Anio Aalto. A hugely famous company designing iconic furniture and accessories (you will see lots of Artek pieces in this home). Aalto offices popped up all over the world. Helsinki being his base and home studio and then eventually expanding to a separate studio.
There’s clearly an abundance of history here, not all could be written in one post. What I wish to convey was the importance of Aalto, the historical impact and monumental honour it was being in his home.
Visiting Alvar Aalto’s residence
On the day that I arrived to Alto’s home the weather was a little unkind. Heavy rain and dark clouds. Combining that with only a 45 minute time limit to see the house, and a tour group fighting for ‘the shot’ (at times it got quite ruthless or rude, but that’s a different conversation). Given these points it was quite a challenge to capture the true essence of Aalto’s incredible home. Fortunately I got some shots, enough to give you a glimpse into this very special home.
He had a studio here, a home office of sorts and members of his design team would work alongside him.
Woven seagrass panels introduced by Ainio Aalto as she often found inspiration from her travels. Including the wild zebra print textiles in Artek’s product lines.
The portrait of Anio Aalto on the desk felt a little unnerving, ha. Strange right?
The pendant light hanging in the guest room has a cut out to shine a mask of light onto your face. A touch of fun in a very simple room.
As I was leaving it began to rain heavily, I knew that I needed to see the garden. While I slipped on the rocks and wet grass I caught a glimpse of the external structure. Ordinarily I’d take wider shots though here’s a glimpse.
I found the home of Alvar Aalto to be overwhelmingly inspiring. The interior designs based on functionality with warmth and a mix of materials. A truly inspiring home.
All Photography/images © Hannah Trickett