The venerable Finnish brand Artek invited veteran upholsterers to put new clothes on Aalto’s classic. Here in New York the duties of reinterpretation fell on Maharam, the Philadelphia based fabric maker. “I love what Michael Maharam has done,” Vingerhoets-Ziesmann adds, ” because he’s really absorbed the identity of the chair, and come up with something unique.” Based on a digital scan of Aalto’s favored Zebra skin upholstery, Maharam devised a topographic brushed felt fabric that mimics the design of the original, but in solid black.
Other upholsterers have included Fanny Aronsen in Stockholm, Ilse Crawford in London, and most recently Missoni in Milan. “We’ve looked to collaborate with companies that have a unique identity and history in each country,” says Artek executive vice president Simone Vingerhoets-Ziesmann.
Bringing a little bit of handicraft to the show floor gave visitors a chance to see what goes into making a chair—and perhaps a little shock from the sound of a pneumatic stapler.
Aalto’s Armchair 400, affectionately nicknamed “The Tank,” here reinterpreted with Maharam fabric and decorative embroidery by Sabine Steinmair.