Your Home Needs This #02: Alvar Aalto Stool 60

Artek furniture designed by Alvar Aalto, courtesy Artek
Artek’s Stool 60 designed by Alvar Aalto, courtesy Artek

Hello, and hope you like the new look of the blog! It needed a bit of an update and I’m a little bit in love with this new wordpress theme, it allows me to do so much more. I hope you like it too. This is also my second post in the series ‘Your Home Needs This’, an (almost) weekly series profiling one must-have design object that is on my wishlist or in my own home – you know, objects and furniture that beautiful, but functional and timeless too (see the first post here, it featured the Vitra Toolbox).

This week, it’s the turn of the stool 60 from Artek, one of my favourite pieces of furniture in my own London flat. It’s also by my all-time favourite Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto. Created in 1933, the simple, but perfectly formed, stool is based on a round seat and three quintessentially Aalto, bent plywood legs. It can be stacked up and is incredibly versatile, whether for a bathroom stool, bedside table, coffee table or dining chair. It’s the perfect height to perch a coffee on next to my armchair in my own living room, it’s so minimally designed (although Aalto would probably argue that the design process was a little bit harder than that, scroll down for more…) and has stood the test of time – even Ikea have made a copy. Can you tell I love it yet?

courtesy Artek
courtesy Artek

alvar-aalto-60-stool-2
via Weekday Carnival

In the 1930s, Aalto began experimenting with laminated wood and moulding plywood. For his Paimio Sanatorium in 1931, for example, he designed a sculptural birch armchair, comprised of a sinuous piece of plywood bent at the top and bottom like a scroll, held with laminated wood arms and legs. The sloping back of the chair was intended to help tuberculosis patients breathe more easily.

Later, many of Aalto’s furniture designs were based on uniform components that could be produced easily and economically en masse. A little after the Paimio chair, he developed the L-shaped leg, a single unit that could be combined in different ways to offer myriad variations of furniture. Several slits were cut into a solid length of timber, which was then filled flush with layers of veneer dipped in glue – the leg could then be bent at a 90-degree angle and the flat, bent surface screwed into a seat above. The stool 60 is made up of three of these L-shaped legs, and also now comes with four. Originally the leg was intended to come in various lengths and sizes (before flat packing was ever a thing), and it was used in a variety of chairs that Aalto designed between 1933 and 1935, including the Chair 65, 66 and 69. Who knew one little leg could be so versatile?

aalto-stool-60-3
via Residence magazine and 20kvadrat, please note the grey stools are copies not originalsaalto-stool-60-4
via Coco Lapine DesignStadshem, please note this is a copy of an Alvar Aalto Stool 60

I also love that the Artek packaging has written on it ‘One Chair is Enough’ – buy an Aalto chair and keep it forever, hand it down to your children. But with the Stool 60, is just one ever enough, can I have a couple please?!

aalto-stool-60-8
dadaa via House&Hold
alvar-aalto-60-stool
via Hege in France, please note this is a copy of an Alvar Aalto Stool 60
TUVA_Hay
via my scandinavian home, photography Maja/Musta Ovi, please note these are copies
Riikka Kantinkoski styling for Fermliving
via Riikka Kantinkoski styling for Ferm living, Weekday Carnival
alvar-aalto-60-stool-3
via Fantastic Frank

Further reading: Alvar Aalto: Second Nature, published by the Vitra Design Museum

  1. Pingback: Your Home Needs This: Hans J. Wegner's Wishbone Chair - cate st hill

  2. Long time snooper…just felt the need to say that the new look is spot on! x

  3. Love the new theme, Cate (and this stool, obviosuly!) xx

    • Thanks! It needed a bit of an update, have had so much fun playing around with it! The stool’s great isn’t it. x

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