Finnish design classics enter cooperation
September 21, 2010
Artek Oy AB has acquired the entire share capital of Aero Design Furniture Oy from the owner Juhani Lemmetti. The products designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara currently in the ownership of ADF will become part of the product range of Artek, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Alvar Aalto products have accounted for almost 60% of the turnover of Artek in Finland, and sales in the international market have almost exclusively consisted of classic Aalto designs. With its new portfolio
strategy, Artek will in time create a broader concept for its collections. The Tapiovaara Collection is the first step in this direction. In the past, Artek has showcased products by different designers in its showrooms, and served as the sales and marketing organisation for Alvar Aalto products abroad. Under the new strategy, Artek is set to become a sales company for internationally interesting Nordic design products, and to achieve significant expansion through its new distribution channels.
In the past two years, Artek has been searching for new dynamic partnerships and has developed its operations within the framework of its subsidiaries abroad. Artek US Inc. was launched in January 2010,
sales in Japan are now managed by a locally-based organisation, and operations in Scandinavia will in the future be directed from Sweden through the Art & Tech Sverige AB. The company has just launched a new store in Stockholm this week. In the wider European field, new partnerships have opened up for Artek. The Tapiovaara Collection will also give a boost to Aalto products in all markets.
New ventures are also a challenge for production. The extended collection and the new emphasis on service in terms of availability and flexibility also place greater demands on operative processes. Contract
manufacturing is guided by cost-effectiveness and correct pricing. Local production is interesting, but must also incorporate new technology. Quality is not merely technical, it is the totality of the product and
Esthetics, Ethics and Ecology – shared interests of both the Aalto and the Tapiovaara Collection.
Ilmari Tapiovaara was a great admirer of Alvar Aalto, and he wanted to create products based on the same ideological premises. He embraced the egalitarianism of Functionalism, and felt that architecture was
the starting point of his design work. The design strategy of Artek stresses the balance between esthetics and ethics, without forgetting ecological considerations. The Aalto and Tapiovaara Collections are
complementary in terms of their design vocabulary, but they are also perfect complements functionally. The tradition-inspired style of Tapiovaara’s wooden furniture presents a softer view that contrasts with the vividly architectural idiom of Aalto’s designs.