Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.”
The name Artek is a synthesis of “art” and ‘technology’ – concepts central to the international modernist movement that came to prominence in the 1920s. It was Walter Gropius, a key proponent of modernism, who coined the motto ‘art and technology – a new unity.’ Technology was understood to include science and industrial production methods, while the conception of art extended beyond the fine arts to encompass architecture and design.
Modernism aimed to achieve a fruitful union of these two spheres. This same aspiration guided the founders of Artek in their naming of the company and in the design of iconic pieces of world design such as the Stool 60, Armchair 42 and Paimio and the Tea Trolley 900.
In line with the spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative company in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture and art.
The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters – including Tapio Wirkkala, Jørn Utzon, Eero Aarnio and the founders – and by important contemporary international designers including Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius. Artek stands for clarity, functionality, and poetic simplicity.