Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976)
Hugo Alvar Hendrik Aalto (known as Alvar Aalto) is universally regarded as a major figure in 20th century architecture and modern furniture design. His influence stretches well beyond his native Finland and several of his works have become icons of the modern era. (The Savoy vase and Paimio chair are particularly recognisable).
Aalto’s early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family. The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism of the early work, to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards. His furniture designs were considered Scandinavian Modern. What is typical for his entire career, however, is a concern for design as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art; whereby he – together with his first wife Aino Aalto – would design not just the building, but give special treatments to the interior surfaces and design furniture, lamps, furnishings and glassware.
The Alvar Aalto Museum, designed by Aalto himself, is located in what is regarded as his home city Jyväskylä.