Artek was founded in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl. The business idea of the company was "to sell furniture and to promote modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other means." The founders of Artek advocated a new kind of environment for everyday life. They believed in a grand synthesis of the arts and wanted to make a difference in town planning as well as architecture and design.
Today Artek is renowned as being one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, building on the heritage of Alvar Aalto. Functionality and timeless aesthetics are the essential elements in the creation of every product that bears the Artek name. Artek’s comprehensive furniture system is based on the original idea of standards and systems, which has its origin from Alvar Aalto’s L-system. The standard and system thinking makes the furniture range versatile and allows it to be customised for individual projects. Artek’s furniture can be found in various types of spaces; from public spaces to homes, museums to schools and hotels to offices.
Artek is headquartered in Finland and is owned by the privately held investment company Proventus AB, based in Sweden. Artek has four stores in Finland; two in Helsinki, one store in Espoo and in Turku, as well as a museum shop in connection to the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä.