Here, Matt Gibberd, co-founder of design-led real estate agency The Modern House, selects the Alvar Aalto Artek stool 60 as a perfect example of everyday furniture design.
Why have you selected the Alvar Aalto Artek stool 60?
It’s a timeless classic, one of the most elemental and versatile pieces of furniture imaginable. It can be used as a stool or a bedside table, and it’s lightweight and stackable so very easy to store.
To my mind, it works well in any type of interior, in any building, from any era.
Why do you think the mid-20th century modernist style of design is still so resonant today?
Modernist design is based around timeless principles that will always have a relevance.
In architectural terms, Alvar Aalto and his fellow Modernists exploited the structural capabilities of concrete and steel to completely change the way we occupy our homes.
Artek stools at the Vyborg Municipal Library, 1930s. The three-legged stool 60 was created in 1933 by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto and has become an icon of functionalist design. The unique bend in the design of the legs meant that it was durable and stackable, as well as having a simple, elegant beauty. That bend became a distinctive feature of Aalto furniture.Image credit.
The property Outhouse in Gloucestershire, for example, which was built within the last few years and was nominated for the Stirling Prize, is heavily indebted to Modernist ideas around open-plan living, maximising natural light, a truth to materials and a connection to nature.
At The Modern House we believe that good design can add significant value to your life, and fundamentally improve your wellbeing.
Modernism had its roots in the concept of democracy, and we try to remain democratic when it comes to selling, representing homes across all price points. However, we do discriminate when it comes to good design. It could be a converted chapel with soaring ceilings; a loft apartment with raw concrete columns; a graceful glasshouse in the grounds of a stately home; a Victorian semi with carefully curated interiors. It might be a dusty relic of the Modernist era that’s waiting to be brought back to life.
Above all, we always ask ourselves this: is it a home that engages, excites and lifts the spirits?
We feel that we have a cultural responsibility to educate people about the value of design within the home. We will be doing increasing amounts of international content on our website, holding events and talks in our studio, launching a podcast series, producing films, publishing a magazine, and running collaborations with like-minded brands. And, of course, selling more houses. We’re very proud of the service that we offer our clients, and we want to help as many people as we can. The message from us is that selling your home doesn’t have to be a terrible experience!