Cf: Ostergard, op. cit, Exh. Cat. No. 99, p. 309/10
See also: Fiell, Modern Chairs, p. 56
In 1929, Aalto turned to laminated wood and plywood as his materials of choice and began investigating veneer bonding and the limits of moulding plywood with Otto Korhoen, the technical director of a furniture factory near Turku. These experiments resulted in the creation of the No. 41 armchair of 1931-32. This influential and technically innovative chair was designed at the same time and included in Aalto's scheme for the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Along with the No. 31 cantilever armchair, it immediately signalled to the international avant-garde a new direction toward plywood as a material for furniture manufacture, and established Aalto as one of the pre-eminent furniture designers of this century.
From the early 1930s, both chairs were distributed in Europe by companies such as Finmar Ltd. in the U.K. and Wohnbedarf in Switzerland. Their sales success and indeed that of the entire range led Aalto to set up his own company Artek to manufacture his designs.
The fact that the frame of the present chair is laminated beech is highly significant; Heikki Hyvövnen from the Museum of Applied Arts in Helsinki has confirmed that only the very first production (around 100 chairs) were made of beech. From 1934, as demand increased the frames were made of birch instead. This chair also still has the red ward stencil on the underside of the seat.