Alvar Aalto: Paimio Sanatorium

Exhibition, Designmuseum Danmark, Copenhagen, Denmark.


From August 25, 2017 until January 21, 2018
World-renowned architect and designer Alvar Aalto presents Paimio Sanatorium (1933) - a modernist masterpiece. This pop-up exhibition focuses on Aalto’s out anding work with shapes, colours, and function. In the interwar period, tuberculosis was a wide read and deadly disease: light, air, and cleanliness became the new mantra, and Paimio fulfilled it all with a radically renewing architecture. That architecture and design can do it all and support the good life, there is a natural connection to the development of today’s super-hospitals. Two of the original chairs from the Paimio Sanatorium are also on display.
In the middle of the Finnish forests, at the top of an elevation, Paimio Sanatorium's white buildings blend together with the peaceful landscape. Alvar Aalto worked on the proof that sunlight, calm and air had a healing effect, and from the very heart to the very end the work was flooded by the architect's care for the patients.
The wing of the building pointed towards the sun and ensured maximum light drop, just like the large windows closed the rays. Loungers with beds for beds allowed patients to breathe fresh air and enjoy the view beyond the terrain.
At the Designmuseum Denmark, the audience has the chance to experience a little faint of the mood at the Paimio Sanatorium when the museum shows two of the original Paimio chairs that were created specifically for the Sanatorium.
The Paimio chairs are inspired by Marcel Breuer's Wassily chair, but Aalto designed the chairs with the patient in mind and designed a furniture in the flexible birch tree that would enclose the soft human body. The chairs were designed at a certain angle, which made it easier for the tuberculosis to breathe. The chairs are part of the Design Museum of Denmark's own collection.
In addition to the Paimio chairs, the spot exhibition offers material samples and drawings, and not least photographs and stories about Alvar Aalto's landmarking work, which together help to restore a part of the atmosphere in the hospital.
Alvar Aalto revolutionized the architecture with his human way of looking at the hospital, and just the sensitive approach, we can learn from today when we behave tomorrow's super-hospitals.