Internationally renowned Swiss design brand Vitra has acquired the Finnish company Artek. Itself a renowned design company founded in 1935 in Finland by architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl, 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.”
“Vitra has held Aalto and Artek in high regard for decades,” explains 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.”
Artek will continue as a separate entity. Synergies between different operations will be explored. They primarily relate to manufacturing, distribution and logistics.
Mirkku Kullberg, Artek’s CEO, says: “The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized. 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.”