1898-1976 (Finland) Alvar Aalto is one of the world’s greatest modern architects and is known as the father of modernism in Finnish design. With a preference for natural materials, his creations are a fusion of romanticism and functionalism. His work includes architecture, furniture, lighting, textiles and glassware. No other Finnish architect or designer has ever achieved Aalto’s success. He became such an influential figure that his country’s national airline, Finnair would even delay take-off if he was late for a flight. Alvar Aalto studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, taking time out to serve in the Finnish War of Liberation, before graduating in 1921. Just two years later he opened his first architectural office. He quickly established himself a world-class architect, winning global commissions and awards. These included gold medals from the Royal Institute of British Architects and American Institute of Architecture. American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright described Aalto's design for the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World Fair as a "work of genius". Driven by a desire to make homes more beautiful, Aalto began designing furniture and accessories as a natural extension of his architectural style. He often drew influences from nature and favoured free-form organic shapes. He is renowned for his mastery of natural light, his most iconic lighting piece being the Beehive Pendant Lamp. “The ultimate goal of the architect is to create a paradise. Every house, every product of architecture should be a fruit of our endeavour to build an earthly paradise for people.”
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