Undoubtedly the most celebrated and influential genius of Scandinavian design, Aalto's (1898-1976) work stretches from furniture to architecture and city planning, from art glass to light fittings. His most famous buildings include the Paimio hospital in Finland, the Viipuri library in todays Russia, the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki and the Essen Opera House in Germany.
Aalto was strongly influenced by the organic shapes of Finnish nature and both his world famous Savoy vase, his folding screen and the Paimio chair share their curving shapes with many of his buildings. Aalto was a great innovator of new manufacturing techniques for wooden furniture, a material he always preferred before steel because of its more humane character. His experiments with the bending of wood resulted in a series of unique and best selling furniture designs, most of them still in production by Artek, the company Aalto co-founded in 1935. His career lasted for six decades, from the 1920s to the 1970s.