Artek & Vitra | The Synergy of Flexibility & Functionality

說到底,「設計」與藝術迥然相異,藝術的原創是獨特的,是可以獨自完成的;傢俬設計則是「作家」及製造商的合作結晶,交互想法的延伸、發展、進化。原創和複製不僅僅是價格的差異,每一細部的裝嵌質量、物料承托測試、原材料管理,都經過數月、數年、數十年的調整;不論創作情感還是到手實際使用的感覺,每種呈現都具其存在意義。

After all, originality of "Art" is one of a kind which is able to be completed on  one's own. Furnishing "Design" is a result of exchanging ideas between "author" and "manufacturer", the evolution of collaborations between the two parties. Price is not the only difference between an original and a copy. The process of trial-and-error and adjustment could have gone through months, years or even decades depending on the components, joints, quality check and source of materials. Emotion, sense of touch and every details exist with reasons.

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對VITRA來說設計師是作家/發明家,所有原創都需被尊重。他們的設計都在瑞士構成,生產則在德國及其他歐洲國家。因為,只有在這些地方,原創才能好好受到法律制度保護。

在VITRA生產的設計遍佈大大小小的文化及商業項目,世界各地的學校、機場、教育中心、會所、餐廳、酒店、辦公空間,都可以找到他們的身影。Vitra在2013年正式收購ARTEK,以全新/全方位的方案為ARTEK開拓更廣闊的世界地圖,並沒有插手Artek設計或生產的原則及堅持。

Every original design has to be respected, designers are "author/ inventor" in eyes of Vitra. To protect intellectual property rights and original designs, all designs are processed and completed in Switzerland while manufacturing procedures are occurred mainly in Germany and other EU countries, which original designs can be well-protected by law.

From education centre, airport, school, clubhouse, hotel, retail, restaurant to working areas, Vitra is literally everywhere. In 2013, Vitra officially acquired Artek without intervening their operation or designs. To Artek, Vitra is more like a bridge to the world, who provides endless connections of cultural and commercial projects.  

ARTEK的「世界地圖」: 基於日本與芬蘭的友好邦交關係,Artek多年來與各行各業的日本職人共同推出不少特別版的STOOL60

與VITRA本是家族傢俱生廠商尋找合作設計師相異,ARTEK的4位創辦人本是設計師/藝術家/建築師/室內設計師,以藝術及科技為重心包辦品牌所有設計及經營策略;他們以傢俬及藝術展覽使整個芬蘭趨向現代化,數十年來在歐洲各地的皇家歌劇院/博物館/火車站等項目不在話下,薈萃近百年的文化歷史。

Map of Artek: Limited Editions of Stool 60 is the spokesperson of the collaborations between Artek and Japanese craftsmen based on the lasting diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan

Vitra is a furnishing manufacturer who search for designers to collaborate, while Artek is established and operated by a group of designer/ interior designer/ architect/ artist who design and produce based on art and technology with their old friend A-factory, a wood-making manufacturer since 1920s. Furnishing and art exhibition was the head of Finland or we may say the breeding ground of modernisation of lifestyle in Finland. During these decades, their designs are always being used in royal theatres/ museums/ train stations and many more historical/ cultural areas.


ARTEK的「世界地圖」: 2020年與對比分明的藝術家聯手為背包品牌qwstion在日內瓦舉辦的黑白兩色閉門展覽等

創立至今,他們保留Alvar Aalto二三十年代的原版設計,並將生產毫無疑慮的交給老朋友A-Factory;這家木工坊每次處理的微批次,向來只用當地良好管理的可持續樹林;為免曬黑表面以保持芬蘭特別的「blond」淺色,他們會將木頭待在陰涼樹蔭下自然風乾一年後,才送到工坊進行生產步驟;合乎他們標準的樹木成長時間大約在50 - 80年,秉持Aalto由始至終的觀念「傢俬的耐用程度應該至少跟他生長的年齡一樣」。

Map of Artek: In 2020, Artek held a pop-up B/W exhibition in Geneva for Qwstion with a pair of artists who are known as duo of huge contrasts

If Vitra is the iCloud of the design industry, A-factory would be the back up hard disk of Artek and Alvar Aalto's design. Artek only uses timber from Finland, (1) which is grown with only a few batches in mixed forests, under strict control to prevent any damage from pests, (3) naturally air dried and felled in winter under shade for 12 months and (4) slowly turned pale beautifully. The selected highest quality of timber are up to 50 - 80 years old and Artek believed The furniture made should last at least as long as how much lifetime it took to grow.

ARTEK的「世界地圖」: 京都御所旅館

已創立86年的ARTEK近年在已廢棄學校/辦公地方尋找ARTEK的二手傢俬開始了2-Cycle,維修整頓後再重新轉售,親身示範「one chair is more than enough」的核心 ,且再次強調「Buy now and keep forever」-「好」的傢俬是可以畢生,甚至傳承好幾代人使用的,即使是每天使用及流動率高的餐廳也十分合適。

Map of Artek: Nazuna Kyoto Gosho in Japan

Artek "2nd Cycle" searches used Aalto chairs and stool, reselling these old pieces to bring out the importance of conscious consumption after proper maintenance and repair. Honouring the natural materials and longevity of Artek's furniture, showmanship of "one chair is more than enough" is well-performed after decades. They are "buy now and keep forever", for life, for generations and even high turnover restaurants and retail areas. 

ARTEK的「世界地圖」: 德國的精品咖啡烘培店Man Versus Machine

「靈活」的Vitra為現代/辦公空間提供更多選擇,而「實淨」的Artek則重文化教育方面的發展;他們從來都不刻意抬高身價,希望人們以該有的價位,對自己、對設計、對自然表現尊重。若你追求的是畢生使用的傢俬家品,雖等候時間較長,但上述兩個品牌會是絕佳選擇。傢俬不應只有簡約風/北歐風/自行組裝/快平靚,更多的在於工藝、設計及用料的每一細部的細膩。時間流逝之時,複製/仿冒品會被淘汰,但有著自身靈魂的設計總會以「全新」的面貌,「經典」依舊讓人驚艷。

Map of Artek: Man Versus Machine Specialty Coffee Roaster in Munich, Germany

If "flexibility" of Vitra are born for contemporary living and working space with endless combinations, "still and sturdiness" of Artek perfectly matched with cultural and educational development. Even though lead time can be up to 5 months with limited shipments from Germany, they are made for who pursue pieces for life, pieces that would never fade and priced at proper level; For sure, respect towards themselves, designs and the mother nature. Furniture are not bounded by simplicity/ minimalism/ origin/ value for money, there are always and much more to discover and investigate when you try to get into a certain aspect. Replica and copies are eliminated through natural selection, but those with soul and belief sparkle as usual.


Invest in an original, for it will always retain its worth.


// Stay safe and healthy //

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