National Pensions Institute in Helsinki, designed by Alvar Aalto, 1956.
I started a new newsletter series for MIES called Remote Tours. The articles are available only for subscribers, you can add yourself to the mailing list from here. In each newsletter I will present an exquisite building I’ve had the chance to visit over the years, as I hope to keep my audience inspired even during the pandemic.
Whenever travelling to any city, I always first check out if there are any architecturally interesting locations worth to visit. Even I grew up in the surroundings of Helsinki, I still have a long list of places to visit for any time I’m in the city. This time I was smart enough to contact well advance the National Pensions Institute to book a visit in their headquarters. As the Alvar Aalto designed building is still in daily use, it is possible to visit only on mondays, when they organize guided tours.
I arrived well in advance so I got to wander around in the lobby by myself, which was my favorite part of the building. The black and white floor made from marble and belgian granite is so elegant and unique, and great combination with the signature ceramic tile -wall.
I might have written about the Alvar Aalto atelier before, but I’m sure a second time won’t hurt. I spent a quick autumn vacation in Helsinki seeing friends and family, and obviously visiting some of my favourite spots, including the Aalto offices in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki. You can also spot the colorful leaves from the window, the nature was definitely showing it’s best while I was there!
Sometimes when I’m meditating I’m thinking about this room, it makes me feel so calm. After living in Paris for many years (where apartments are teeny tiny) I’m starting to notice I’m constantly craving some space around me.
Home office essentials; pencil from Montblanc, leather notebook from Mignon Paris
Snapshots from Helsinki, where I spent the last days of 2018. The gorgeous stairs of Artek store and Alvar Aalto Paimio-chair at Artek 2nd Cycle, which is – as the name tells – a store dedicated to 2nd hand Artek furniture.
I was forced to take a small break as my computer broke in the beginning of December, but now I’m back with full of ideas and a new laptop. I have lots of plans listed down for 2019 and I can’t wait what the year brings along.
But just quickly returning to last year, I wanted to tell about an interview, that I did with BLOOC about our Paris apartment and life in general, you can find it here.
Modern architecture is not the first thing that comes in mind when thinking about Paris and it’s Haussmann buildings. However, there are couple of gems worth visiting.
Maison Louis Carré, designed by Finnish Alvar Aalto is located 45 minutes outside of Paris and open for visitors every weekend. French art dealer Louis Carré was first considering Le Corbusier to design his new home but was not so convinced by his “colder” style such as use of beton.
Maison La Roche, designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It was designed for a Swiss banker and art collector Raoul La Roche.
I’ve noticed how easy it is to become blind for the beauty of your home city. Now when living in Paris, I’m constantly finding places I want to visit in Helsinki and Alvar Aalto’s studio and home were the first on my list.
A Helsinki based Japanese designer asked few days back, what is Finnish design to me. It’s very hard to put in to words something that you grew up with, but I found the answer from Aalto’s studio; purpose-driven and unpretentious. Like the Paimio chair above – it was designed for the tuberculosis patients of Paimio sanatorium. The chair made from bended plywood is light to move around, easy to clean and the shape opens respiratory tract and makes breathing easier.
Alvar Aalto Paimio Lounge Chair, Artek
The ROW Pre-Fall 2017
Tonfisk Design Coffee Cups