Few design brands evoke as much warmth on the part of consumers as the heritage-steeped Finnish company Artek, currently celebrating 75 years in business. Co-founded in 1935 by the hero of Scandinavian modernism Alvar Aalto, Artek has certainly earned its design stripes. Here, its managing director, Mirkku Kullberg, in conversation with Architonic during the recent Cologne Furniture Fair, discusses how the manufacturer’s longevity is matched by its long-sighted, forward-facing vision…
With 75 years in business under its belt, it’s pretty safe to say that Artek – the respected design brand co-founded by Finnish design and architecture legend Alvar Aalto – has proved itself, both commercially and culturally. But the company’s ebullient managing director Mirkku Kullberg is determined to ensure that there’s no resting on laurels. (Even birch ones.)
Meeting up with Architonic at Artek’s small, but beautifully formed, anniversary installation at the DROOM showroom in Cologne during this year’s furniture fair, Kullberg explained how the company is facing the future with a decidedly holistic vision, one which involves greater control of the whole design and production value chain, from raw materials to distribution and retailing.
Sustainability is, of course, part of the equation, too, but with their anti-fashion take on consumption and their commitment to the restoration and reselling of older Artek furniture pieces, all underpinned by a genuine desire for the brand to have an educative role in material-cultural landscape, it’s a lot more than just talk. All very forward-thinking for a company with such impeccable heritage credentials. Who’d have thought it?
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