Meghan Edwards | September 06, 2013
Switzerland-based furniture manufacturer Vitra has acquired Artek from the Stockholm-based privately held investment company Proventus. Artek was founded in 1935 in Finland by architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen, and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl.
The partnership marks a growing focus on both companies' global impact: “The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized," says Mirkku Kullberg, CEO, Artek. "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 has recently issued an aggressive extension of its product range, including its purchase of the rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection. The company's existing close collaborations with prominent international architects—such as Eero Aarnio, Shigeru Ban, Naoto Fukasawa, Harri Koskinen, Juha Leiviskä, Enzo Mari and Tobias Rehberger—are also a boon to its new ownership.
“Vitra has held Aalto and Artek in high regard for decades,” says Rolf Fehlbaum, a member of Vitra’s board of directors. He adds, ". . .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 to operate as a separate entity, with new collaborations in manufacturing and distributions under consideration.