Finnish pavilions for two world’s fair (Paris, 1937); New York, 1939-40) further enhanced Aalto’s reputation as an inventive designer of free architectural forms. In these designs, both chosen in competition, he continued to use wood for structure and for surfaces effects. Further renown came in 1938, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York City held an exhibition of his work, showing photographs of his buildings and examples of his furniture.
Aalto’s experiments in furniture date from the early 1930’s, when he furnished the sanatorium at Paimio. His furniture is noted for its use of laminated wood in ribbonlike forms that serve both structural and aesthetic ends. In 1935 the Artek Company was established by Aalto and Mairea Gullichsen, the wife of the industrialist and art collector, to manufacture and market his furniture. The infornal warmth of Aalto’s interiors is best seen in the much admired country home Villa Mairea, which he built for the Gullichsens near Noormarkku, Finland.
Mature style. The decade of the 1940s was not productive; it was disrupted by war and saddened by his wife’s death. In 1952 he married Elissa Makinieni, a trained architect, who became his new collaborator.
Aalto’s commissions after 1950, in addition to being greater in umber, were more varied and widely dispersed: a high-rise apartment building in Bremen (1958), persed: a church in Bologna (1966), an art museum in Ian (1970). His continuing work in Finland, however, remained the measure of his genius. – William Benton (1943-1973), Helen Hemingway Benton (1973-1974). “The New Encyclopedia Britannica”