Märta Blomstedt

Märta Blomstedt was an architect and one of the driving forces of the Finnish functionalism movement.

She initially worked with her husband, the architect Pauli E. Blomstedt but she started a company and continues their projects with Matti Lampén after her husband’s death in 1935. She approached her projects holistically and designs all aspects of it, perhaps the best example being the Hotel Aulanko in Hämeenlinna, Finland. After Lampén’s passing, Blomstedt formed a partnership with Olli Penttilä and continued to work into the 1970s.

Märta Blomstedt (née von Willebrand) was born in 1899 in Turku and eventually graduated as an architect from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1922. Her graduation coincided with the advent of modern functionalism and she would get further influences from visits to Italy and France between 1924 and 1929. In 1924, she married her study partner and architect, Pauli E. Blomstedt and their two children were born the following years.

The couple began a partnership as independent architects in 1926 and started work on the Finnish Savings Bank in Helsinki in 1928. Before Pauli Blomstedt passed away, they completed the Kotka Savings Bank and began work on the Kannonkoski Church. Märta Blomstedt then worked with Lampén to complete several of the designs her husband had begun, including the Pohjanhovi Hotel in Rovaniemi, since destroyed in the war. In 1938, the two formed their own firm, Blomstedt & Lampén, their most famous work being Hotel Aulanko. The pair designed various scale projects ranging from city plans to residential buildings up until 1961, their final project being the International School in Oulu.

When Lampén died in 1961, Blomstedt created a new company, Blomstedt & Penttilä, with Olli Penttilä and they worked together for another 10 years.

Blomstedt passed away in 1982.

Hotel Aulanko

The hotel Aulanko was designed as a holistic work of art with the furnishings, dishes and textiles being a part of the building concept. The hotel was completed in 1939, a was a shining example of Finnish functionalism with furnishings by Artek, Taito and Stockmann. Märta Blomstedt contributed with a now highly sought after chair, although it has been disputed and attributed to Flemming Lassen as well. The chairs made for the hotel, approximately 30 specimens, were created by cabinet maker Arvo Laine in Hämeenlinna. The chair was updated with wooden ball legs in 1941 and there were many variations manufactured up until the 1950s.

  • Märta Blomstedt
  • 1899–1982
  • Works include:
  • The Pohjanhovi Hotel in Rovaniemi (1936)
  • The Hotel Aulanko (1938)
  • The Ruuskanen House (1941)
  • The Lindström and Sörnäisten Factory in Helsinki (1948)
  • The Vladimirsgatan Building (1950)
  • The Tallberg house (1951)
  • The Bio Vuoksi Cinema in Imatra (1954)
  • The Primula Bakery Building (1957)
  • Kuusjärvi City Plan (1955)
  • Kuvalehti House in Helsinki (1957)
  • The International School in Oulu (1961)


Carin Bryggman

Carin Bryggman was an interior architect that was the first woman to found a interior decorating bureau in Finland.

Bryggman studied at the University School of Arts, Design and Architecture 1940–1944 and won the Arts and Crafts Association’s design competition allowing her to display her designs at the Ateneum school. As there was little work for women architects in Finland after the war, Bryggman continued her career by working at three architectural firms in Sweden and focusing on lighting design from 1945 to 1948. She also started working on interiors with her father, the architect Erik Bryggman. In 1949 Bryggman founded her own company in the field – the first one by a woman in Finland. About half of all interior architects at the time were women, whereas just about all architects were men.

She exhibited at furniture fairs and conducted study trips to Italy, Germany, France and the US. Her most known design is the SAB chair, made for the Arts and Crafts Association’s 75th anniversary exhibit in 1950 as Finland’s first foam padded chair.

Bryggman designed restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, shops, cafés, banks, exhibitions and public spaces during her long career. Perhaps her best known work is the renovation plans and interior designs she made together with her father for the castle in Turku, Finland for more than 40 years. She also made interior plans for the Sibelius museum in Turku, the Åbo Akademi University School of Business, the Turku Academy house, the Finnish embassy in Stockholm and the archbishop’s official residence. The Bryggman archives hold more than 450 completed works by Carin but because her designs were most often custom works and not mass produced, few designs have survived.

Carin Bryggman was married to the interior designer Uolevi Nuotio from 1952 to 1962, running the firm and working on projects together. They had no children.

  • Carin Bryggman
  • 1920-1993
  • Interior decorator and designer
  • Awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 1961, the State Industrial Design Award in 1982, the Svenska Kulturfonden Prize in 1986, the Aurora medal in 1987 and Turku City art prize in 1990.
  • Honorary member of SIO – the association of interior decorators
  • Founded the Inredningsarkitekt Carin Bryggmans och professor Erik Bryggmans fund that awards and supports young architects.


Carin Bryggman, sisustusarkkitehti

Who’s who in Finland in 1978

Carin Bryggman ja Lasse Ollinkari sisustusarkkitehdin ammatissa 1940– ja 1950–luvulla

Carin Bryggman var inredningspionjär med stjärnstatus

Finna.fi – images

Maija Heikinheimo

Maija Heikinheimo (1908 – 1963) was a Finnish designer and interior decorator who studied at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki between 1929 and 1932. She started her career at Asko (Asko Avonius Huonekalutehtaat / f. 1918) , one of the larger furniture manufacturers in Finland at the time, as its first in-house designer in 1932. She was instrumental in developing ‘wooden functionalism’ and made several signature furniture pieces such as her iconic side table and different chair models. Her career at Asko lasted for three years until 1935 when she left to work at Artek, the newly founded furniture company by Alvar Aalto, Aino Aalto, Nils-Gustav Hahl and Maire Gullichsen.

At Artek, Heikinheimo designed various items such as a coffee set, a mirror and a tray using brass and copper in her work. She also created furniture such as sideboards and chair variations, but she mainly focused on interior decoration and fairs and serving as Alvar Aalto’s right hand and as Artek’s artistic director 1937-1941 and in other positions 1945-1963.

Many of Artek’s furniture drawings were signed with Aalto’s name, as was the practice at the time, and it therefore difficult to know who is the actual designer. Maija Heikinheimo only signed designs that were considered “less important” with ”MHho”.

After Artek’s co-founder Aino Aalto passed away in 1949, Heikinheimo served as Artek’s managing director until 1955, after which Maire Gullichsen took over the role.

Maire Gullichsen founded Norrmark Handicraft in 1961 together with designer Bertel Gardberg and Heikinheimo was tasked with designing furniture for the company. She created a safari chair and a few stools, which would prove to be some of her last work. Sinikka Killinen, who was an interior designer and designer of rugs and other fabric items, also designed for Norrmark Handicraft and was a friend of Heikinheimo. Heikinheimo moved to one of Killinen’s flats in Degerö in Helsinki in 1959 and passed away in 1963.

  • Maija Heikinheimo (1908 – 1963)
  • Received the Pro Finlandia medal in 1959
  • Exhibitions and furnishings
    • The apartment exhibition in Noormarkku (1946)
    • The Säynätsalo Town Hall (1950)
    • H55 in Hälsingborg (1955)
    • The Social Insurance Institution building (Kela) (1956)
    • International Architectural Exhibition Interbau (1957)
    • Finnish Design Ltd in Haymarket, London (1958)
    • Museum of Central Finland (1960)
    • Several exhibits for the Union for Industrial Design in Finland
  • Best known for her work at Asko and Artek and close work with the Aaltos.


Interview with the Heikinheimo family 29.8.2021


Damastin traditio ja innovaatio


Taste – A cultural history of home interior from 1800 to today

Maire Gullichsen

Few have have had the same impact on design and the arts as Maire Gullichsen, born Ahlström in 1907 in Pori, Finland. Although she made few designs herself, her contributions through the renowned company Artek and personal patron initiatives greatly impacted the development of the Nordic design scene.

Gullichsen was born into the Ahlström family, one of Finland’s most influential and wealthiest industrial conglomerates. She studied art both in Helsinki and in Paris between 1925 and 1928 and married Harry Gullichsen that same year. They shared a mutual love for modern art as well as applied arts and architecture and it would result in several initiatives and eventually the Pori Art Museum in 1979, where their collection is stored

Gullichsen (together with Ethel Thesleff, Irja Noponen and Saara Castrén)
 established the Free Art School in 1934, a private school in Helsinki where she also enrolled. The Finnish art scene had stagnated in the 1930s due to nationalistic values and the aim of the Free Art School was to introduce European modernism influences.

The following year she founded Artek, together with architects Alvar and Aino Aalto as well as art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl. Artek’s innovative furniture designs and new approach to interior decoration would over time prove to be strong combination as the modern society developed and craved new and practical furnishing solutions. The Aaltoes and the Gullichsens would a few years later work together on crafting one of the most world’s best known architectural creations, Villa Mairea.

Maire Gullichsen designed a few items herself, a series of tumblers and pitchers, a cheese-dish cover as well as a table lamp in glass.

In 1961, Maire Gullichsen partners with designer Bertel Gardberg and recruits Nanny Still and Birgitta Bergh to create Noormarkun Käsityöt or Norrmark Handicraft in her home village just outside of Pori, Finland. The endeavour aimed to strengthen the struggling carpentry industry in the area but this proved to be a daunting task and the company was eventually fusioned with Artek in the mid 1970s.

  • Maire Gullichsen (1907 – 1990)
  • Founded the Free Art School in Helsinki in 1934
  • Co-founded Artek in 1935
  • Founded Föreningen Nutidskonst in 1939
  • Acted as Galerie Artek’s director 1951–1953
  • Managing director at Artek 1955-1958
  • Member of the Lunning Prize committee 1956–1971
  • Awarded an honorary professor’s title in 1981
  • Exhibitions and furnishings arranged by Gullichsen
    • Klar Form 1939
    • Galerie Artek
    • Sam Vanni 1953 and 1955
    • Lars-Gunnar Nordström 1952 and 1955
    • Birger Carlstedt 1957
    • Ernst Mether-Borgström 1958

“Who is your favourite designer?”

A surprisingly hard question to answer. Most often people name names of men we read about in magazines or see featured in documentaries.

Heard of Lilly Reich, Gunta Stölzl, Marianne Brandt, Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, Florence Knoll or Ray Eames? There’s a good chance you haven’t.

How about Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Philippe Starck, Arne Jacobsen or Eero Saarinen?

There are numerous people whose design shaped the reality we see and feel but who are rarely mentioned when history is told.

101 Designers tells these stories – through 101 posts about people who helped shape our art, society and daily lives.

“Being a woman, I was given interiors,” – Florence Knoll, who in 1961 became the first woman to receive the Gold Medal for Industrial Design from the American Institute of Architects and who has been credited with revolutionizing office design and bringing modernist design to office interiors.