Alvar Aalto Studio in Helsinki | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

Kabang! After a very nice bike trip from our apartment in the city center of Helsinki, we arrived in a residential neighborhood of the Finnish capital. There are no street signs that indicate where to find Alvar Aalto's studio, and seen from the street it hardly stands out. A handful of Japanese tourists wander in the neighborhood and when we ring the doorbell, a young woman tells us to wait until exactly 11:30 when the guided tour begins. We park our Pelago bikes and enjoy the sun and the frozen Baltic Sea.

At exactly 11:30 the woman welcomes us inside and with six Japanese people we are shown around Alvar Aalto's studio. The famous Finnish architect and designer (and sculptor, painter) designed the building at Tiilimäki 20 in 1955 to have more space to work because of several large commissions. The new studio is ideally located at a short walk from his home with a shape that's focusses on the inside, very humble from the outside. We're amazed by the incredible light, unexpected height and a very calm feeling. | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

"The principal space in the building is the curving studio which has a view opening onto the courtyard. Horizontal battens fixed to the high walls of the studio allowed drawings to be displayed there. The rear wall is covered with climbing plants reaching up to the high-level windows and prototypes of light fittings designed by Alvar Aalto are hung in front of the wall. The slanting bay window of the conference room with its rooflight creates the perfect conditions for examining models and drawings". | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

One of the (many!) eyecatchers in the room are the big trailing plants in the back. On the original photos from the 1960s the trailing plants are already there. It doesn't look like the exact same plant, but the aesthetic and trailing shapes are pretty much the same | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

Plenty of classic Alvar Aalto stools 60 and beautiful cardboard boxes (now empty!) that were used to store architectural drawings: | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

The curve in the main room makes that you cannot see the entire room when you enter the space, there is room for mystery, in a very modest and humble way. | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

The first floor is dedicated to the real work. And yes, real work: because there's still a team of people working in the Alvar Aalto studio. The team of the Alvar Aalto Foundation works where designers and architects used to design buildings and furniture in previous decades. It's part museum with tools and prototypes of Alvar Aalto's projects, and part workspace. What a privilage to work in a studio like this! | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

Beautiful tools and light: | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

The famous layered plywood construction technique: | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

It's hard to be distracted by things outside when working in the studio upstairs: the windows are positioned very high: | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

In 1962-1963 the building was extended by a dining room for the staff called the Taverna, in the courtyard behind the high brick wall, with an office above it. The fabric on the ceiling is for accoustic purposes, the taverna feels extremely Nordic and functional. Very Alvar Aalto. The spot in the back on the right was Alvar's favorite spot. A very strategic place to sit, because the fan-shape of the taverna allows a oversee the entire room 😉 | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

Kabang! This is really a space that you should experience by yourself when you're in Helsinki. It's hard to catch the feeling and design in photos. Visiting Alvar Aalto's studio truly helped me to better understand the core values of Finnish design. The Alvar Aalto home is located at walking distance from the studio. | Alvar Aalto Studio Helsinki

Alvar Aalto studio /// Tiilimäki 20 /// 00330 Helsinki, Finland
Opening hours (guided tours only) on the website.

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