Alvar Aalto


Born in Jyväskylä in 1898 and died in Helsinki in 1976. Alvar Aalto is one of the important figures of modern architecture and is the best-known Finnish architect abroad. His work ranges from area plans to designs for individual buildings and furnishings. He created organic buildings that combined different materials, were fragmen-ted or incorporated curves. In collaboration with his wife Aino Marsio-Aalto, he worked in the fields of interior design and furnish-ings. In this period he began to produce pieces, like the stool with three legs, that were remarkably modest but meticulously finished. Aalto's contribution to the standardised construction and socially oriented architectural planning of the modern movement was important for the development of Finnish architecture and society.


Antonio Gaudi


Born in Reus, in 1852 and died in Barcelona in 1926. An essential reference point in the history of architecture, Antonio Gaudi also designed furniture from the start of his career and like other Modernist architects, involved himself in every aspect of the interior design of his buildings. His designs, with their highly personal interpretation of the tenets of Modernism, are extremely organic and clearly draw on forms found in nature.


Charles R. Mackintosh


Born in Glasgow in 1868 and died in London in 1928. Architect, representative of the Glasgow School, and one of the founders of Art Nouveau. His highly distinctive furniture designs were particularly outstanding, the elaborate ornamentation of panels and friezes being a constant factor. His most acclaimed furniture was made between 1901 and 1911 for the Glasgow Tea Room and for various private houses. In 1923 he abandoned his career as an architect and began a period devoted to painting that reached its peak in his French and Catalan watercolours. He returned to England in 1927 and died in oblivion the following year.


Frank Lloyd Wright


Born in Wisconsin in 1867 and died in Phoenix in 1959. Frank Lloyd Wright personifies the spirit of the pioneers in the American West in the field of architecture. Individualistic, radical, stubborn, nature-loving, Wright invites comparison with Walt Whitman. He designed pieces of furniture for many of his Chicago period, that have subsequently been reproduced and marketed commercially. In his furniture he developed a personal graphic language drawing on extremely diverse sources, including the Chicago School, the Arts and Crafts culture, Art Nouveau, the avant-garde, Japanese traditions and many more. However, as a furniture designer he was not an innovator to the same extent as the architects of the modernist movement. The pioneer spirit that swelled up in him when he encountered a plot of land was dissipated in his furniture, largely made up of unwieldy geometrical pieces.


Frank O. Gehry


Born in Toronto in 1929. His style depends on his own idea;"a building is a sculpture, because it is a three-dimensional object". His deconstructed architectural style began to emerge in the late 1970s when Gehry, directed by a personal vision of architecture, created collage-like compositions out of found materials. Instead of creating buildings, Gehry creates functional sculptures. Gehry's drawings and models, as well as his designs for cardboard and bentwood furniture and various interpretations of fish, have been exhibited in museums around the world. He has frequently collaborated with performers, painters, and sculptors.


John Ruskin


Born at London on 1819 and died on 1900. John Ruskin was a Victorian writer, critic, scientist, poet, artist, environmentalist and philosopher. After trips to France and Italy, where Ruskin sketched the romantic beauty of medieval architecture and sculpture, he wrote a book on Gothic Architect-ure entitled "The Seven Lamps of Architecture". His ideas inspired the Arts and Crafts Movement and the founding of the National Trust, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Labour Movement. Ruskin became a champion of the Gothic Revival style in Britain, a style which drew its inspiration from medieval architecture such as he had studied in Europe.


Josef Hoffmann


Born in Pirnitz in 1870 and died in Vienna in 1956. The Austrian designer Josef Hoffmann founded the Vienna Secession, which rejected the styles of the past and the ornamental details based on nature that typified the Viennese Jugend style. Hoffman, in contrast, sought inspiration in abstract geometrical forms, and these became the starting point for all his designs. He put these ideas into practice with cube-shape or elongated rectilinear pieces of furniture that were put on show in several Secessionist exhibitions. Many of his works, such as the 371 chair from 1906, incorporate small spheres that break up their straight lines.


Le Corbusier


Born in Chaux de Fonds in 1887 and died in Roquebrune-Cap Martin in 1965. Le Corbusier introduced functionalism into design and was one of the pioneers in the use of chromed aluminium as a material for construction. His furniture designs use simple open forms and eliminate any decorative element that is not derived from the structure of the piece itself.


Louis Sullivan


Born in Boston in 1856 and died in Chicago in 1924. Sullivan is famous with his concept, "form ever follows function".Louis Sullivan is widely considered America's first truly modern architect and is best known for his innovative Chicago skyscrapers. However, his most elegant and engaging buildings were a series of modest bank buildings he designed for several small communities in the Midwest. Older architectural styles were designed for buildings that were wide, but Sullivan was able to create aesthetic unity in buildings that were tall. Instead of imitating historic styles, he created original forms and details.


Mies van der Rohe


Born in Aquisgran in 1886 and died in Chicago in 1969. A member of the Bauhaus School, and its director at one point, his furniture designs were inseparable from the functionalist trend toward objects with highly simplified lines, in which the structure of the piece was the determining esthetic factor, avoiding any type of ornamentation. Among his most characteristic designs is the Barcelona chair, made to furnish the German pavilion in the 1929 Universal Exhibition, with the steel tubing that set the trend for metal frames. In 1938 he emigrated to the United States, where he went on to become a professor in the Armour Institute in Chicago.




Born in Oxford in 1831, died in 1915. As an architect, Philip Webb is best known for his unconventional country houses. He was a pioneering figure in the English domestic revival movement. Although his highly original, yet practical designs incorporated the use of contrasting materials such as white interior walls and bare brickwork. For the company, Webb designed household furnishings and decorative accessories in metal, glass, wood and embroidery. He is particularly famous for his table glassware, stained glass, jewelry and his rustic adaptations of Stuart period furniture.


Salvador Dali


Born in Figueres in 1904 and died in Figueres in 1989. Salvador Dali's close friendship with the famous interior designer Jean Michel Frank, a leading light of 1930s Paris, led to several joint projects, including the production of furniture. The Catalan painter's creations included a series of very original pieces , such as the outdoor furniture for his house in Port Lligat, but he also designed more mundane items, such as handles and faucets.