Extendable Circular Aalto Table with Wartime Finger-Joint 'L-legs'
An extending dining table designed by Alvar Aalto in 1935 and made by Artek, Finland, circa 1940. The main table is circular whilst the one extending leaf is rectangular. On insertion of the leaf the table becomes an oval.
The proportions of the table’s top and legs and the material from which they are made are quintessential of furniture by Alvar Aalto.
However, less recognisable as a feature of his design is the way the bend at the top of the legs is achieved. Rather than incorporating the standardised ‘L-leg’, made using his internationally patented method for bending wood, the table stands on legs made into an ‘L’ shape by joining, at a right-angle, two sections of wood via finger joints.
The finger-joints reveal this table as a 1940s piece as this method of construction to attain an ‘L’-shaped leg was deployed during WWII, on account of material and labour shortages.
All aspects of the table are solid birch except for the tabletop and the top of the leaf which are laminated birch plywood.
Both the main table and leaf boast a rich honey-coloured patina.
A testament to the brilliance of the ‘L’-shaped leg, fastened with screws directly to the tabletop (weather laminated & bent or mitered & finger jointed), the table remains strong and structurally sound.
After eighty years of use the tabletop does show signs of age-related wear. However, none of which that distracts massively from the overall elegance of the piece.
Extended Length: 187 cm
Height: 72.5 cm
Date of Design: 1935
Date of Manufacture: Circa 1940
Designer: Alvar Aalto
Country of Origin: Finland