You’ve all been to the Nordic House of Iceland, designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, haven’t you?
If not, hurry up! Finnish photographer Mira Mykkänen captured some of the beautiful details designed by Aalto, who designed the buidling, the interiors and most of the furniture in the house.

Armchair 45 is still in production by Artek. 

Pendant Lamp A110 (above)  was  initially designed for the building of the Finnish Engineers’ Association (Alvar Aalto 1948–1953).

Floor lamp A805 (below) was designed by Aalto in 1954. The shade of this lamp is made of thin painted metal strips that prevent glare by diffusing light evenly. The asymmetrical shape is reminiscent of an angel’s wing – hence the nickname.

The double-door handle provides a steady grip for adults and children alike.

Aalto uses tiles throughout the building – from windowsills to the blue facade that took its organic shape from the mountain row behind it.

 

 

 

 

Sofa 544 (below) designed by Aalto in 1932 and still in production today.

 

Here is a little more information about the Nordic House:

 

The Nordic House in Reykjavík is a cultural institution opened in 1968 and operated by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Its goal is to foster and support cultural connections between Iceland and the other Nordic countries. To this end the Nordic House organizes a diverse program of cultural events and exhibitions.

 

The house is the venue for front row activities in the Icelandic cultural calendar: Reykjavík International Film and Literary Festivals, Iceland Airwaves and The Nordic Fashion Biennale—launched by the Nordic House, now on its way to the runways of Copenhagen and New York.

The house maintains a library and the Nordic Region in Focus information service.

 

In addition, there is a shop for Nordic design and food products, exhibition space and auditoriums. The house also features an acclaimed restaurant serving New Nordic food. Restaurant Dill is run by chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason, captain of the Icelandic culinary team.

 

And here is a little more about the maestro himself:

Alvar Aalto is one of the most noted architects of the 20th century.He was born in 1898 in Finland and died there in 1976. He grew up in close contact with nature in a small town in the western part of the country.

When Aalto was a young man Finland obtained its independence, which awoke in him an awareness of his place in the international community. Early on he showed interest in the classical architecture of Greek and Italy, and was especially taken by architecture’s relationship with landscape.

In fact, many of Aalto’s buildings are inspired by the wing-shaped form of classical, open-air theaters. He was also influenced by modernist thought from at the beginning of the 20th century concerning simplicity and architectural utilitarianism. He developed these ideas along a rather artistic and personal trajectory, placing emphasis on natural materials and organic shapes, which lend his structures a gentle demeanor. His work was always been conceived with the human in the foreground and a conviction for close relationships between architecture and setting, man and nature.

“Architecture should spring forth from every location and circumstances. It is subject to a keen sense of form but must appeal to human emotion.”
Among Aalto’s earlier works is the municipal library in Viipuri, Finland (1927-1935), which has since become Vyborg, Russia. Here Aalto implemented his first cylindrical skylight, which is also found in the central space of the Nordic House in Reykjavík. Likewise, he sank a portion of the library’s floor creating a sort of hollow to diversify the use of space, an idea he later employed in a number of his buildings.

The Nordic House bears references to a number of Aalto’s other works, including the Paimio Sanatorium in Finland (1928-32) and the Villa Mairea house in Noormarkku, Finland (1938-39), which features his first example of interplay between manmade forms and the use of organic materials. Also referenced is Aalto’s own summerhouse, “The Experimental House,” in Muuratsalo, Finland, where he experimented with different types of bricks and textures, which, in turn, led to techniques like the use of glazed flagstone tiles, a material incorporated in various ways in his later works.

Many of Aalto’s structures surround a central space or courtyard, like Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949-52). Other buildings demonstrate variations on the wing-shaped auditorium like the Helsinki University of Technology at Otaniemi (1949-74), Seinäjoki City Theater (1960-69), and Finlandia Hall in Helsinki (1962-75) among others.

 

 Images Courtesy of the Nordic House

Photographer Mira Mykkänen