Several notable Finns became famous worldwide in diverse fields of study or work. One of them is Alvar Aalto, The Architect, and also a designer. I have already published a story of the exhibition about Jean Sibelius, another man who shaped the contemporary Finnish culture. Alvar Aalto has his own museum, inaugurated in the 70s, situated in his hometown, Jyväskylä.
Jyväskylä is a middle-sized city in the central part of Finland. The region is commonly known as “Finnish Lakeland” because this portion of the country’s territory has more water than land. The city itself is surrounded by several lakes, smaller and larger, and at the time of the Architect’s birth, it was a pretty small village. The contemporary University of Jyväskylä, today one of the Finland’s best universities, had not existed at that time. Alvar Aalto moved to Helsinki to study Architecture. He continued living there after completing his degree.
“Katu” means “street” in Finnish. This is the Architect’s Street, and the Museum is here. The building itself is not particularly monumental and at first, I did not recognize that there could be a museum here. It’s quite a modest concept, involved into the natural surroundings, shy in this dark sub-polar winter; it’s just like all the Aalto’s and Scandinavian architecture pretends to be. There is a series of little fountains next to the building, and I believe that it works like a kind of small series of waterfalls. However, with -6 degrees celsius, we could see just this situation:
Amongst the 6 Amazing Discoveries in Finland, this is the most engaging one, since it tells a story about a person’s life, work, style, struggles, successes, and values. This is a fine learning environment for people who study arts, design or architecture, and a common reason to visit Jyväskylä for these professionals. But it’s also a place full of fun when everything you can learn, you will learn by experiencing, by watching, feeling. The whole new world will be opened to you once you are here in Jyväskylä, but if you visit this museum, your image about this culture will become perfectly complete.
Alvar Aalto is one of those who shaped the Scandinavian Design. You know, Ikea style is a part of that movement, but there are much more expensive pieces and examples. Although many of these pieces look fairly simple in comparison with the Italian or French design, or any type of rustic or classical Mediterranean forms, they are composed of a carefully chosen and prepared types of wood so it becomes elastic. While many of these chairs look uncomfortable, in reality, they are wonderfully comfortable.
You can observe these chairs, but no worries, some of them are on the floor and you are perfectly allowed to sit on them. So you can really experience how they are, the way this building shows how Aalto’s buildings were usually constructed.
Check my second post about this museum, and learn how you can play with forms and learn the logic behind the Alvar Aalto’s architecture.