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ALVAR AALTO
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ALVAR AALTO

PROTOTYPE MODEL 31 BENCH, CIRCA 1931-1932

Details
ALVAR AALTO
PROTOTYPE MODEL 31 BENCH, CIRCA 1931-1932
solid and laminated birch
31½ in. (79.5 cm.) high; 47¼ in. (120 cm.) wide; 25½ in. (65 cm.) deep
Provenance
Scandinavian Design, Christie's South Kensington, 6th September 2000, lot 9 (part)
Private Collection, Germany
Literature
Pirkko Tuukanen, Alvar Aalto Designer, Vammala, 2002, p. 166 (example illustrated)
Special notice

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Post lot text
VARIOUS PROPERTIES

Lot Essay

The constructional aspects of this and the proceeding two lots are consistent with the experimental nature of prototypes. All of the chairs feature reinforcing panels nailed to the underside of the seats in order to preserve the rigidity of the thin plywood seats, and all feature variations upon the stepped-laminate configuration to the runners. The stepped layering of laminates to the runners is seen on the earliest production examples of the Model-31 chairs, circa 1932-1933, and was originally designed to enhance stability and to prevent the legs from twisting. This prototypic feature is most prominent upon the runners to the settee, which features two steps to the left runner, and only one step to the right runner, prompting the suggestion that at this point Aalto was still considering the potential of this constructional feature.

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