This chair is a low wooden variation on an icon of Modernism: the tubular-steel ‘Freischwinger’ without back legs, designed by Mart Stam in 1926-1927. The Finnish architect/designer Alvar Aalto also started off using metal for his pieces of furniture, but he found it unsatisfactory because of its high thermal conductivity and poor acoustic qualities. In the early 1930s, when he was working on his design for the Paimio Sanatorium, he made a permanent switch to wood. This decision was seen by many as resulting in a more human, typically Scandinavian Modernism.
For the construction of this armchair, Aalto used laminated wood, which consists of thin sheets of wood glued together. New adhesive techniques from the aeronautical industry made it possible to absorb the great pressure exerted on the suspended seat and back rest. The seat is in plywood with a decorative veneer of Karelian birch.
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