Born, raised, and educated in Finland, Alvar Aalto became the most iconic designer of the Finnish Modernism Movement. Aalto entered the Helsinki University of Technology in 1919 after serving in the Finnish war of national liberation. In the Post-WWI era, the multi-national entanglement within the war had, in a sense, brought the European countries closer together, which lead to an urgent pandemic need for individualistic national identity. It was in this environment that Aalto developed his romantic reactions to the sterile modernism developing in Germany.
He designed his first piece of furniture before he was a registered architect, and continued this practice throughout his very successful architectural career, starting with his first large commission, the Paimio Sanitorium (1928-1933). The demand for his furniture lead to the founding of Artek in 1935, which Aalto supervised until his death in 1976.