Stool 60 by Artek

13 Aug 2013

Going back to 1932… Around that time the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto finished the Paimio Sanatorium in Paimio, Finland. The building served exclusively as a tuberculosis sanatorium until the early 1960s, when it was converted into a general hospital. Today the building is part of the Turku University Hospital. The sanatorium was nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Paimio Sanatorium in Paimio, Finland. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Who was Alvar Aalto?

Alvar Aalto was a highly talented architect and an eager spokesman for the international modernist movement. Aalto's designs were innovative and radical and became known for his experimental approach to bending wood, which greatly influenced American designers Charles & Ray Eames and Finnish-born Eero Saarinen. His style became known as humanist modernism. Alvar Aalto's dialogue with nature, architecture, design and the human being has become a living legacy.

Objects are made to be completed by the human mind.

 — Alvar Aalto

Now you are probably wondering what's the link with this stool in the title… Well Artek is featuring the stools with colored tops inspired by the colors used at the Paimio Sanitorium. The yellow is from the floors, the green from the walls, turquoise from the handrails and walls, and the orange, black, and white are from the furniture.

Born in 1933 and a break through

This stool was a break through in 1933 as it could be mass produced thanks to the invention of bending chair legs from solid wood. The stool didn't use joints anymore. These joints demanded a great deal of time and skilled workmanship. This unique bending technology became the basis of Stool 60 and was later patented. The Stool 60 is only 3-legged and is very easy to be stacked and stored in small spaces. The secret of the original Aalto stool's success lies in its legs' unique bends that eventually became the distinctive feature of all Aalto furniture.

Artek is celebrating this stool 80th anniversary by introducing a series of stools that are designed by various well-known architects and designers. Below you'll see an Architectural concept for Artek done by German designer and artist Mike Meiré.

That eventually resulted in a fresh perspective on the iconic Artek Alvar Aalto Stool 60 with six different color schemes. Based on the notion that a stool is always in movement Mike Meiré decided to create disorder by painting each of the three legs of the stool in a different color. This way whenever the stool moves you get a new perspective.

I believe you should only change classics when people have become very familiar with them. Suddenly, they can rediscover something they already know.

 — Mike Meiré

Give a new look to the famous design classic

Stool 60 is Artek’s best selling product and one of the most famous design classics of all time internationally. Tom Dixon, Nao Tamura, Mads Nørgaard and Comme des Garçons have also designed new versions. The 80th Anniversary Edition is available at design


  1. 1 Spiros Martzoukos 13 Aug 2013

    Beautiful video.

    I once stumbled upon some links (here’s a video tutorial for anyone interested: that showed you how you can hack an IKEA stool( into this by just removing one leg.

    The thing that striked me the most was the fact that the 4legged stool was less stable than its 3legged counterpart. One would simply think that 4 legs > 3 legs in terms of balance, but it turned out that 3 spots created a more stable pane. Just a reminder that design isn’t reduction to the simplest possible form, but to the most functional one.