Modern Icons To Light Up Your Home

Alvar Aalto's prodigious output included only three U.S. projects. But the company that produces his furniture makes it possible for you to add your home to the list - and now it lets you shine a light on everything as well.

Alvar Aalto's lighting is now available in the United States for the first time. Millésimé in Old City is the exclusive Philadelphia distributor for the Artek lighting line. | Photos: Courtesy Millésimé

Alvar Aalto’s lighting is now available in the United States for the first time. Millésimé in Old City is the exclusive Philadelphia distributor for the Artek lighting line. | Photos: Courtesy Millésimé

Finnish architect Alvar Aalto ranks with Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen (another Finn), Walter Gropius and Philadelphian Louis Kahn as one of the true giants of modernist architecture.

Up until now, though, if you wanted to see Aalto’s work up close and personal, you’d pretty much have to travel to his native country, for Aalto produced only three commissioned works in the United States: a dormitory on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, Mass., a library at a Benedictine abbey in Oregon and a conference room in an office building across the street from the United Nations in New York.

But thanks to Artek, it’s possible to add your dining room, kitchen or family room to the list of Aalto creations. And you can now shine Aalto-designed light on the subject as well.

Aalto founded Artek in 1935 to produce his furniture and lighting, and it’s now added some of his most admired and iconic lighting designs to its product line in the United States. Millésimé, the avant-garde design boutique in Old City, is now carrying the Artek Aalto lighting line exclusively along with the furniture.

The lighting is UL-listed and wired for U.S. current. For those who want to get their projects completed in a hurry, Artek makes these designs available through its Quick-Ship program, which gets the finished product into your hands in two weeks.

Aalto's clean lines define both his lighting and his furniture; the other two designs in the Artek lighting line available in the US are shown here.

Aalto’s clean lines define both his lighting and his furniture; the other two designs in the Artek lighting line available in the US are shown here.

Three pendant lights are available through this program: the “Golden Bell,” created for his 1936 redesign of the interior of Helsinki’s Savoy Restaurant; the “Hand Grenade,” which first graced two of his post-World War II interiors; and the “Beehive,” a classic that he created for the University of Jyväskylä in 1953. All of them will add a timeless contemporary element to your interiors.

For more information on the Artek Aalto lighting line, visit the Millésimé showroom at 33 N. 2nd St. in Old City, email [email protected] or visit the store’s website.

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