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Tue 15.2.

Love in a Cold Climate: Architonic meets Artek chief Mirkku Kullberg

Posted by Simon Keane-Cowell on 15.02.2011 - Tagged as: , , , ,

Northern lights: Artek shows Alvar Aalto's 'A330S' pendant lights at DROOM's Cologne showroom as part of its 75th-anniversary installation during January's furniture fair

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…

'Artek is something that moves between the worlds of art and design, art and architecture. This kind of area where you don't actually know what's right or wrong, but it makes you curious and drives you forward': Artek's managing director Mirkku Kullberg

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.)

'Aalto's legacy can be a benefit and burden', says Artek managing director Mirkku Kullberg. Seen here, some classic Aalto designs as part of the company's recent 75th-anniversary installation at the DROOM showroom in Cologne

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?

Read this article in full on Architonic

For technical support contact Alfred Giolai Love in a Cold Climate: Architonic meets Artek chief Mirkku Kullberg