Alvar & Aino Aalto's Artek Pascoe Venture
(Photo by Ezra Stoller, colorized)
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.
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 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:
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)
Updated May 6 2022:
House Beautiful feature, March 1946
Update: Nov 30th 2023
Everyday Art Quarterly Summer 1946 featured several Artek-Pascoe pieces including a surprising discovery that the firm sold the Bruno Mathsson Pernila 3 Chaise longue.
Obviously that iconic design complemented the A-P look and they even had a spinoff arm chair also featured in the article, noted as designed by Ewald Holtkamp. Other Mathsson designs sold include the expanding dining table known as the Maria.
Interiors August 1942 features this advert for A-P which also incliudes the Pernilla Chaise and introduces atwo new namnes of designers - Anderson and Bellah.
Interiors June 1946 fe\atures a 6' high folding screen in an interior renovation of the headquarters of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in New York - a collaboration between A-P and architect Jedd Stowe Reisner.
The screen is very likely the same design as one we sourced recently (6' tall by 11' long.)
Once Pascoe split from Artek, other screens were produced, including this superb articulating plywood screen featured in Interior Nov 1949
Artek-Pascoe also featurd Mexican designer Clara Porset's work in their New York Showrooms (Interiors Nov 1946).
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.
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