Stamped to underside 'DESIGN AALTO MADE IN FINLAND'
Weak rubber stamp DESIGN AALTO MADE IN FINLAND. Height 31, 200 x 80 cm HISTORY On a hill in Noormarkku, nestled in the lush Finnish pine forest, Alvar Aalto's Villa Mairea towers. The villa was built in the late 1930s on behalf of husband and wife Harry and Maire Gullichsens, and the building has come to be regarded as one of Aalto's foremost architectural works. Distinctive for the villa is its changing character, where the L-shaped floor plan together with variation in the choice of facade materials, creates a dynamic building, which switches between the strictly formal and public, to the more enclosed and private. Even in the interior, Aalto created variety and articulation in the choice of materials and surfaces, where stone and brick coexist with large glass sections, and the interior's numerous wooden details interact with the nature outside. In the so-called flower room or conservatory, the interaction becomes particularly clear, as its large openable glass wall blurs the boundary between outside and inside, and the bare wooden slats that form a counter around the stairs to the upper floor, imitate the tall and rugged trunks of the surrounding pine forest, and anchor the design in the Finnish nature. In this borderland between outside and inside, a low and easily placed flower bed with pine slats and wide edging was also placed, which served as a podium for the conservatory's potted plants. A preserved photograph taken from inside the Villa Maiera shows how the glass wall has been pushed aside on a warm and sunny day, and how Aino Aalto and Maire Gullischsen find themselves in this place, somewhere between outside and inside, and behind their backs looms a lonely monstera enthroned on top of narrow pine slats. There are some differences between the flower bed in the auction and the one shown in the photograph, which is most evident in the asymmetric outline of the table. Whether this is the result of a further development of the furniture, or whether the differences are linked to a customer's wishes is left unsaid here. What can be noted, however, is that the furniture's stamp shows that the flower bed was made for a foreign market. It is clear that the auction specimen has a direct relationship with the flower bed that still stands today in Villa Mairea, and that the piece of furniture is a rarely offered and very unusual element of Aalto's production.
LITERATURE Compare the stamp in Männistö, Pertti, Aalto Design Collection, 2022, p. 500 For image of the flower bed in Villa Mairea, see; Aalto, Alvar & Keinänen, Timo, Alvar Aalto: designer, Alvar Aalto Foundation, Alvar Aalto Museum, [Helsinki], 2002, p. 86.