The Paimio Sanatorium
The Paimio Sanatorium, Aino and Alvar Aaltos’ groundbreaking functionalist building, was completed 90 years ago. Artek commemorates this with the Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Collection to raise awareness for the extraordinary building and support for the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation.
Set amidst pine forests outside the small town of Paimio close to Turku in southwest Finland, Aino and Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium was opened in June 1933. Conceived as a ‘medical instrument’, the Sanatorium was at the time entirely dedicated to the care of tuberculosis patients. Every single detail of the hospital had been carefully tailored by the Aaltos to the precise needs of recovering patients. Some of the Aaltos’ most famous furniture designs were first created for the Paimio Sanatorium. To further the healing process, a remarkable array of colours was selected for the interiors, intertwining with every element of the building.
Tuberculosis patients were treated in the Paimio Sanatorium until the 1960s, after which the facilities were used as a general hospital until the 2010s. Since 2020, the Sanatorium has been run by the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation. Its purpose is twofold: to secure the Sanatorium building and furniture, and to develop new purposes for the use of the facilities. The Foundation plays a key role in protecting the Aaltos’ breakthrough site of architecture, which is why Artek – one of the Foundation’s founding members – makes it a priority to provide communicative and financial support for its activities.
To support the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation in its mission and to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Sanatorium’s opening, Artek is releasing a celebratory Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Collection.
The Armchair 41, also known as Paimio Armchair, is considered one of Alvar Aalto’s most stunning masterpieces and was originally designed for the Sanatorium in 1932. Aalto aimed at using materials and creating forms that would promote the wellbeing of the patients and support their recovery. The light, organic form and flowing structure of the seat were designed to make it easier for the patients to breathe. Instead of using traditional tubular steel, Aalto opted for bent birch plywood and lamella, a material he preferred due to its warm and tactile quality, and which was easy to clean.
As Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Edition, Armchair 41 will be available with a seat and frame in oiled natural birch, in a strictly limited and numbered edition of 90 pieces. For every Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Armchair 41 sold, Artek will support the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation with a donation of €500.
Originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933, the iconic Stool 60 is one of the most cherished products in the history of design. Based on a research project of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, which uncovered the bottom layers of wall paint in the Paimio Sanatorium, Stool 60 will be made available in three colours matching the building’s original colour scheme as designed by Alvar Aalto and artist Eino Kauria.
The selected colours are a nod to the patients’ everyday life at the Sanatorium, where forest walks (green), fresh air (blue) and sunbathing (yellow) were considered to be an integral component of their treatment plan. For every Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Stool 60 sold, Artek will support the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation with a donation of €30.
The Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Collection will be available from June 2023 at Artek’s own stores in Helsinki and Toyko, as well as selected partner dealers in Finland, Japan, Korea and Australia.
Every anniversary product is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, featuring Eino Kauria’s painting of the Sanatorium’s remarkable colour concept. The anniversary editions are available as stock lasts or for a maximum duration of one year, until June 2024.