Founded in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino along with art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav, Artek was built upon the radical business plan to “sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational means."
Under the family-owned Swiss furniture company Vitra, Artek will be able to grow internationally and also improve its manufacturing, distribution and logistics capabilities.
Hotel Kranzbach designed by Artek
According to Daniel Sachs, former owner of Artek, the partnership between Vitra and Artek is based on shared values. “Vitra has the ideal corporate culture, know-how and industrial resources to take Artek to the next level,” he said.
“Vitra has held Aalto and Artek in high regard for decades,” said Rolf Fehlbaum, a member of Vitra’s Board of Directors. “The Finnish design company is more than a collection of furniture; like Vitra it is a commercial-cultural project which plays an avant-garde role in its sector. For Vitra it is important that Artek can continue and further develop this role.”
“The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized,” said Mirkku Kullberg, Artek CEO. “That arena is where we want to be, and alliances or ownership arrangements are one way of building the future. In our judgment, having an owner from the industry was the best choice for Artek.”
“This is a great opportunity for the Finnish design industry and a major move for Artek, lifting the company to the next stage,” added Kullberg.
Artek arm chair and light fixture
The core of the Artek product range consists of Alvar Aalto’s furniture and lighting designs. Under its new portfolio strategy, Artek is extending the range and has acquired the rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection. In parallel, Artek also continues to work in close collaboration with prominent international architects, designers and artists, such as Eero Aarnio, Shigeru Ban, Naoto Fukasawa, Harri Koskinen, Juha Leiviskä, Enzo Mari and Tobias Rehberger.