This seemingly simple stool features what Alvar Aalto deemed his most important contribution to furniture design: the L-shaped leg. The Three-Legged Stacking Stool's design provides a smooth visual transition from leg to top and is structurally sound. In addition to being featured in the Museum's collection, this stool was displayed in Alvar Alto: Between Humanism and Material, a career retrospective mounted by the Museum's Department of Architecture and Design in 1998. Made of birch, his preferred material, the signature bentwood leg attaches simply to the bottom of the seat. Made by Artek. Ships flat; simple assembly is required.
Many of Aalto's earliest furniture designs were for a tuberculosis sanitarium in Paimio, Finland, and are thus based on strict criteria: comfort, warmth, and easy maintenance and storage. Birch was his material of choice because of its abundance in Finland and his belief that patients should never touch a cold surface. His signature bentwood legs are made by splitting a straight piece of wood several inches down from one end into six layers. Five very thin pieces of wood are then inserted between the layers. The thinness of the layers allows the structure to remain pliable and be bent in a press to the desired angle.