ALVAR AALTO “SECOND NATURE”
VITRA DESIGN MUSEUM
Weil am Rein, Germany
27 September – 1 March 2015
Not often does a concise major retrospective of a truly remarkable creative happen, and “Second Nature” exhibition of all Aalto works, architectural sketches, designs, furniture, lights and glassware, at the Frank Gehry-designed Vitra Design Museum in Germany’s Weil Am Rhein, is no exception.
Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) is the best known Finnish architect of his generation and a chief proponent of a human-centred modernism. His buildings such as the Paimio Sanatorium (1933) or Villa Mairea (1939) embody a masterful interplay of organic volumes, forms and materials. Aalto’s Paimio Chair (1931–1932) and his Stool 60 (1933) (seen below) were milestones in the development of modern furniture, and his emblematic Savoy Vase (1936)(below) has become the symbol of Finnish Design. With “Alvar Aalto – Second Nature”, the Vitra Design Museum is now presenting a major retrospective exhibition on this legendary architect and reveals many new aspects of his oeuvre.
“Alvar Aalto – Second Nature” provides an extensive overview of Aalto’s life and work, including historical architectural models, original drawings, furniture, lights and glassware, as well as works by other acclaimed artists like Alexander Calder or Jean Arp. The exhibition covers Aalto’s most iconic buildings and designs, but also lesser known projects like his Experimental House in Muuratsalo (1952-1953), an extraordinary composition of different materials which appears like a 21st century architectural collage.
The retrospective takes a new, more contemporary look at Aalto and his work. The exhibition explores how Aalto’s affinity for organic form was mediated through a close dialogue with many artists of his time, such as László Moholy-Nagy, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder or Fernand Léger. Works of these and other artists are juxtaposed with Aaltos designs and buildings, illustrating his significance as a figurehead of the international art and architecture Avant-Garde from the 1920s onwards.
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue of 688 pages. It includes essays by ten authors such as Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Akos Moravanszky, MoMA curator Pedro Gadanho and interviews with Kenneth Frampton and Álvaro Siza, as well as a list of selected exhibits with numerous never-before-seen original drawings and architectural models from the archive of the Alvar Aalto Museum.
The events programme accompanying the exhibition will include lectures and discussions with Shigeru Ban, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Front Design, Harri Koskinen, Matthias Sauerbruch, architecten de vylder vinck taillieu and many others.
A major restropective not to miss, and certainly to make the extraordinary journey for.
Until March 1st, 2015.