Monday, September 9, 2013

Vitra Has Acquired Artek


Artek and Vitra - A partnership built on affinity

On 6 September 2013, Vitra acquired the Finnish company Artek.

A renowned design company founded in 1935 in Finland by architect Alvar Aalto 
and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav 
Hahl, Artek was built upon the radical business plan to “sell furniture and to 
promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational 
means.” Artek has become one of the most innovative contributors to modern 
design, building on the heritage of Alvar Aalto. 

“Vitra has held Aalto and Artek in high regard for decades,” explains Rolf 
Fehlbaum, a member of Vitra’s Board of Directors. “The Finnish design 
company is more than a collection of furniture; like Vitra it is a commercial-
cultural project which plays an avant-garde role in its sector. For Vitra it is 
important that Artek can continue and further develop this role.” 

Artek will continue as a separate entity. Synergies between different operations
will be explored. They primarily relate to manufacturing, distribution and 

Mirkku Kullberg, Artek’s CEO, says: “The international dimension, which was a 
clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be 
revitalized. That arena is where we want to be, and alliances or ownership 
arrangements are one way of building the future. In our judgment, having an 
owner from the industry was the best choice for Artek.” 

Kullberg continues: “This is a great opportunity for the Finnish design industry 
and a major move for Artek, lifting the company to the next stage.”

The core of the Artek product range consists of Alvar Aalto’s furniture and 
lighting designs. Under its new portfolio strategy, Artek is extending the range 
and has acquired the rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection. In 
parallel, Artek also continues to work in close collaboration with prominent 
international architects, designers and artists, such as Eero Aarnio, Shigeru 
Ban, Naoto Fukasawa, Harri Koskinen, Juha Leiviskä, Enzo Mari and Tobias 

As an important player in the modernist movement and in the spirit of its 
radical founders, Artek remains in the vanguard as it searches for new paths 
within and between the disciplines of design, architecture and art. “There is 
definitely a comeback of Nordic design and there is a renewed appreciation of 
Aalto’s work. Tapiovaara of course is much less known internationally, and it is 
high time that he be discovered,” Rolf Fehlbaum adds.

The partnership between Vitra and Artek is based on shared values. Proventus 
CEO Daniel Sachs, former owner of Artek, explains the decision of the transaction:
“Vitra has the ideal corporate culture, know-how and industrial resources to take Artek
to the next level.”

Vitra welcomes Artek as a new member of the Vitra Family. 

1 comment:

  1. I've wondered for some time if Artek were thriving or struggling.


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