Aino Aalto (1894-1949) was an architect, designer, and one of Artek’s founding figures. Upon graduating in 1920, Aino Marsio, as she was then known, started her professional career working for architect Oiva Kallio in Helsinki.
In 1924, she moved to Alvar Aalto’s office; six months later, they married. Aino and Alvar came to work a great deal together, and their creative partnership was marked by absolute equality. Projects the Aaltos cooperated on include the world famous Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, the Paimio Sanatorium, and the Savoy Restaurant in Helsinki.
As a designer, Aino Aalto is primarily known for her work in glass and interior design, and then as a furniture designer. But her interests included architecture and photography, as well as various areas of applied art and design. Among many other things, she designed furniture, glassware objects, ceramics, lighting, and printed fabrics.
Aino Aalto came to play an important part at Artek; she was always closely involved in the company’s development, taking on the roles of Design Director and Managing Director. In many ways, it was Aino who laid the foundation for the aesthetics of Artek, which combined the modernist idea of clear form with simple surface ornamentation.
Despite her untimely death, her international design legacy lives on, both in the Artek company and in her ever popular and much copied glassware.