Alvar & Aino Aalto's Artek Pascoe Venture


(Photo by Ezra Stoller)


In July of 1940, in an effort to establish themselves in the USA, the Finnish design couple Alvar and Aino Aalto announced the founding of Artek-Pascoe, Inc.



(Architectural Record, Aug 1940)



Their aim was to 'use US mass production to get their designs in to ordinary US homes.' (Time Magazine, July 15th, 1940). With designs in hand, furniture was initially produced in Wisconsin and shipped to New York for assembly.


Aino and Alvar Aalto in the Artek Pascoe showroom circa 1940. Photo by Herbert Matter.



Groundwork

In 1938 Aalto had presented an exhibition of his work at MOMA entitled 'Alvar Aalto: Architecture and Furniture'. A year later, Alvar Aalto designed the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair and were buoyed by the American response.


Sketch for the Finnish Pavilion at the New York World Fair, 1939. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Finnish Pavilion at the New York World Fair, 1939. Photo by Ezra Stoller


The Showroom

The NY showroom was given an extensive feature in the August 1942 Architectural Forum with photos by Ezra Stoller:


Designed by Morris Ketchum and Francis X Gina, the storefront was an eye-catching exercise in scale: a dramatic double height showroom area with basement storage below and sales offices behind a curtain and above in the mezzanine towards the back of the store. After catching a glimpse of the staged living room setup through the huge showroom windows, customers entered to the right and were guided along a wavelike Aalto screen to an optimum viewing angle.






Arts & Architecture Magazine

A & A featured the Artek-Pascoe line in the July 1946 issue:



Print Adverts

Artek-Pascoe would go on to have retail outlets in five major cities, the showrooms styled by leading designers and appear to have made a marketing push in 1946 with adverts appearing in newspapers across the country.

(St Louis Globe Democrat, Sun, Feb 24,1946)

(Arts and Architecture August 1946)


(Arizona Daily Star, Sun, Sep, 15, 1946)


(Tucson Daily Citizen, Mon, May 20, 1946)


(Architectural Forum April 1947)




Case Study House #16

Furniture by Artek-Pascoe was selected for numerous projects including Marcel Breuer's Weizenblatt House and Arts & Architecture's Case Study Program, House #16 designed by Rodney Walker (A&A) Feb 1947:





Trystcraft Artek-Pascoe Inventory


This article was the product of the acquisition of a suite of furniture from the original owners who had bought the pieces from the Madison Ave showroom. They are great examples of the Artek-Pascoe line.


Artek-Pascoe desk and chair



Artek-Pascoe cabinets and dresser


Sources:

http://thenorthelevation.blogspot.com/2010/04/flashback-1940-artek-pascoe-manhattan.html

July 15, 1940 TIME magazine article


Architectural Record, August 1940

Architectural Forum, August 1942

Architectural Forum April 1947

Arts and Architecture July 1946

Arts and Architecture August 1946

Arts and Architecture February 1947



Finnish Pavilion sketch

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Alvar-Aaltos-drawing-for-the-Finnish-Pavilion-at-the-New-York-World-Fair-1939-Credits_fig2_348015579


Ezra Stoller

https://www.phaidon.com/agenda/architecture/articles/2019/october/07/ezra-stoller-s-modern-america-the-finnish-pavilion/




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