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Paimio Arm Chair by Alvar Aalto

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Aalto’s intriguing Model Paimio arm chair can be found in numerous museums including the Museum of Modern Art. The frame is laminated birch bent into a closed curve with solid birch cross-rails. The seat is molded from one piece of birch plywood. The springy plywood fixed on a closed frame was Aalto’s 1931 brainstorm for making a wooden chair “soft”.

His thought in positioning for the sun, selection of soothing materials which reduced Hospital “clatter” noise made a cheerful environment for both staff and patients.
He continued those philosophies to design the furniture, especially the Paimio Arm Chair. The TB patient’s breathing was considered with the 110 degree angle of the chair back, the front curve of the arm made it easy to grip for getting in and out of.
The timber surface was easily cleaned. The use of timber creating warmth negated the coldness of institutions. The Paimio Chair is constructed from both two dimensional molded plywood and laminated timber. The curves are made by clamping layers of veneer and glue over a form to achieve the desired curved shapes.
A straight laminated timber crossbar in the upper back stabilized the framework. The continuous curves of the chair seat and back resembled a coil spring – this provided extra resilience to the plywood design.
There were air vents in the upper part of the chair lent itself to the shape of a scroll – the Paimio Chair was often referred to as the Scroll Chair.

  1. pertti männistö Said,

    I have in my collection one of the first 52 original Paimio chairs from the Sanatorium.
    These chairs are different in many ways than now; the frame is laminated, bent beech and the seat of two pieces bent birch plywood. There are any “air wents” on the back and the seat is bent on 90 degree angle (110 degree is later!) and the crossbars are solid wood, not laminated, as they always have been.

  2. Dale Said,

    I have seen this chair and what your article fails to mention is the slight flex that the seat itself has (by design) that makes it more comfortable to sit in.

    Not just great looks but also great design.

  3. Quality Coupons Said,

    It ready simple

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