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The collection of lighting manufacturer Valaistustyö Viljo Hirvonen ky has been donated to the Alvar Aalto Foundation. Right from the start and up until 1975, this lighting factory founded in Helsinki in 1952 was the primary manufacturer of Aalto-designed light fittings. The extensive collection was accumulated over a period of 23 years in a collaboration between the master metalsmith Viljo Hirvonen and the architect Alvar Aalto.

Beehive lamp (1953), design Alvar Aalto. Lighting manufacturer Valaistustyö Viljo Hirvonen Ky. Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä.

The collection, donated by relatives of Viljo Hirvonen, includes, alongside complete light fittings, items such as prototypes, moulds and tools – totalling almost four hundred objects in all.

“The collection has considerable historical and research value. Numerous famous modernist light fittings were made under Viljo Hirvonen’s skilled guidance, some later being given the nicknames Kultakello (Golden Bell), Juolukka (Bilberry), Lentävä Lautanen (Flying Saucer) and Mehiläispesä (Beehive),” says Chief Curator at the Alvar Aalto Museum Kaarina Mikonranta.

Lighting plays an important role in Alvar Aalto’s architecture. Alongside natural light, he also used artificial lighting both indoors and outdoors. This was done with light fittings that could be serially produced and used in several different buildings, or with dedicated light fittings designed specifically for the building in question.

“Interior design is a fundamental part of the architecture of Aalto’s buildings, and the light fittings were often designed as an integral part of the whole. The donated collection will allow us to take a closer look at the history of the light fittings,” says the Alvar Aalto Museum’s Director Susanna Pettersson.

The donation means that inventorying of the collection can now begin, and the actual number of objects and the research value of the collection established.

Enquiries:

Director Susanna Pettersson, susanna.pettersson@alvaraalto.fi,
tel. +358 40 7360 699, Alvar Aalto Foundation/ Alvar Aalto Museum

Chief Curator Kaarina Mikonranta, kaarina.mikonranta@alvaraalto.fi,
tel. +358 40 778 6190, Alvar Aalto Museum