Alvar, meet Snufkin. Snufkin, Alvar.
I’m not sure how this passed me by until now, but Artek has issued their classic Alvar Aalto-designed stool 60, children’s stool NE60 and children’s chair N65 in a special Moomin edition! YES! I said Aalto stools with MOOMINS on them! That’s an explosion of Finnish-ness almost too awesome to believe.
From Artek’s March 2013 press release:
The motifs selected for Artek’s furniture comprise decorative and masterfully drawn Moomin characters from Tove Jansson’s output from the 1950s. There are several stages and styles in the artistic trajectory of Jansson’s Moomin figures, ranging from detailed and precise miniatures to expressive and stylised images. Comic strips and illustrated books were a genre apart, characterised by a highly developed visual style. Jansson’s beautiful line work and the sympathetic Moomin characters are a beautiful complement to the clear lines of Aalto’s furniture, while imparting a new feel to it.
The whole press release is great, especially the character descriptions. Snufkin was inspired by Atos Wirtanen, “a left-wing intellectual and an active member of the Finnish parliament in the 1940s.” I had a lizard named Snufkin when I was a kid, and he always struck me as being pretty progressive.
So you take a stool designed 80 years ago, add some 60-year-old drawings, and you get something that looks totally fresh and new and still modern in 2013. Isn’t that great? This is exactly why I care about good design — not to mention why the best children’s books are the ones you still want to read when you’re a grown-up. Good stuff is always going to be good stuff. (Well, maybe not asbestos. But you get what I’m saying.) I want them all!