Artek, a Finnish furniture company founded by architect Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino Aalto, visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl, was originally created to promote the products of its founders, as well as produce furnishings for their buildings.
The founders chose the non-Finnish name–the neologism Artek–to manifest a desire to combine art and technology. This echoed a central tenant of the International Style, especially the Bauhaus, to emphasize the technical expertise in production and quality of materials over frivolous or historically motivated ornamentation. Artek also have their own in-house designers, the most well-known being their Ben af Schulten, who served as artistic director for nearly 40 years. Since Aalto’s death in 1976 the company has also sold design objects by other Finnish designers, such as Juha Leiviskä and Eero Aarnio, as well as Vitra furniture.