At the recent Furniture Fair in Milan Artek introduced their new Rival Task Chair, a first design for the Finnish company by the German designer Konstantin Grcic.
The chair is a new type for Artek, a swivel chair for working at a desk or work station, but its shape and style can be seen as the evolution of ideas and forms in older designs from the company. The chair is in birch (the hall-mark timber of choice for Artek) with legs that have a pronounced splay for stability but they also have to converge at the top for the swivel mechanism. The seat is a bold, bowl-shaped plastic shell but with a seat pad or cushion that can be covered either in fabric or leather.
These splayed rather than vertical legs look back to the Rocket Stool designed for Artek by Eero Aarnio in 1995 and the form of the back of the new chair, with flat bentwood supports and a simple curved back, pays homage to the series of chairs designed by Aalto himself in the 1930s including Chair 65, Chair 66 and Chair 69.
The chair can have an alternative form of back with a wider piece added to the frame for a wider area of lumbar support for the user and the wood of the legs and back frame can be either plain or lacquered in white, black or red.
There is clearly a trend in Nordic furniture design that is moving towards simple, more substantial and solid shapes and outlines with less emphasis on a structural frame or obvious traditional joinery.
Photographs from the Artek site