HELSINKI – Artek has announced the acquisition of HKT Korhonen’s furniture production of Alvar Aalto designs. This important move ensures the continuity and further development of Aalto’s products, while also offering a framework for Artek’s future product development. The history between Artek and HKT Korhonen dates back to the 1930s when Aalto and Otto Korhonen entered into an agreement between Artek, Aino & Alvar Aalto, and the furniture factory Huonekalu- ja Rakennustyötehdas, which now results in integrating the factory’s manufacturing process into Artek’s chain of operations.
This strategic cooperation aids in the process of building international cohesion in sales and distribution, a key goal for Artek since it was purchased by Vitra AG in Sept. 2013. Under its new owner, Artek comes into contact with a significantly larger and more international market. Vitra’s strengths in procurement and manufacturing create significant synergies for Artek’s proprietary manufacturing in Finland. Important development projects of the future will involve the integration of traditional woodworking skills with technology, profitability and quality control.
Artek’s long history of expertise with wood, and Finnish birch wood in particular, began with the relationship between Alvar Aalto and Otto Korhonen that led to the development of new ways to bend wood, resulting in the bent L-shaped leg, as seen on the Stool 60. The new manufacturing process gave an opportunity to develop standardization – an idea championed by Aalto – and also mass production at the factory level. The L-leg was followed in the 1940s by the Y-leg, and in the 1950s by the X-leg. Korhonen’s know-how of woodworking techniques combined with Aalto’s visionary sense of form and his mastery of technology created the foundation for the birth of what is now the Artek design collection.