The day began with Aalto, because we had to get an early start for the scheduled studio and house tours. The first tour was of the Aalto studio, though that building actually was built after his house. The house was originally used both for living and as a studio for his work, where employees came and went on one side while the household was somewhat separated on the other. I can well imagine how pleased his wife, Aino, must have been when the new studio was completed several blocks away. Both buildings were wonderful to see - for the way light was captured by well-placed windows, how the unusual angled skylight on the wall of the studio brought light onto conference room displays, the clever drawers and cabinets that could open from either side to the dining room or the kitchen, and the early uses of undulating forms for foundation walls and a planter, most obviously precursors to the Aalto vase.
Correction - 7/16/12. Peter has pointed out that the planter may have been a precursor, but not the foundation wall. Aalto's Savoy vase is from 1938, while the Studio was not built until the 50's. But were these forms just destiny? In Finnish, the word aalto means wave.
There was lots more to our day, including the discovery of a rug washing pier and a lovely cafe on the Munkkiniemi waterfront, a sun shower that produced a rainbow and some terrific gray clouds over a bit of clearing blue skies from Kaivopuisto, the park at the southern tip of Helsinki. The photos show it all.