Vitra has acquired the Finnish design company Artek in a deal announced on Friday.
Artek will continue to operate as a separate entity within Vitra, a Swiss furniture maker and design company. Architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino, along with art promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl founded Artek in 1935. Artek has been owned by the privately held investment company Proventus for the past 20 years.
“We are all so excited about the new partnership that has been sealed today in the world of design,” Simone Vingerhoets-Ziesmann, executive vice president of Artek, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to even greater growth and opportunity in the marketplace that we’ve been building since we started Artek USA in 2010.”
Mirkku Kullberg, CEO of Artek, said the move will provide a great opportunity for the company, and will help invigorate its international efforts.
“The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized,” Kullberg said in a statement. “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.”
Artek’s portfolio primarily consists of Aalto’s designs, but has expanded after acquiring the rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection. The company also has worked with prominent designers and architects including Eero Aarnio, Shigeru Ban, Naoto Fukasawa, Harri Koskinen, Juha Leiviskä, Enzo Mari and Tobias Rehberger.
Rolf Fehlbaum, a member of Vitra’s Board of Directors, said his company has held Artek in high regard for many years.
“There is definitely a comeback of Nordic design and there is a renewed appreciation of Aalto’s work," Fehlbaum said in a statement. "Tapiovaara of course is much less known internationally, and it is high time that he be discovered.”
The 80th anniversary edition of Stool 60, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933.