|Bus 66 to Noormarkku|
Villa Mairea is an experiment in modern lifestyle and architecture. The building is full of innovations and Alvar Aalto has been testing many new ideas that have later been utilized in standard housing buildings. However, more important Villa Mairea has also to be seen as a milestone in Aalto's work and his career. By designing Villa Mairea Alvar Aalto transitioned from main-stream modernism (influenced by the Bauhaus) away towards his own unique synthesis of the traditional and modern, organic and technological, structural and aesthetic, emotional and rational style.
The tour inside takes about 1 hour. Unfortunately the tour only covers the ground floor as the upper floor contains the private quarters of the family. The house is decided into two parts. Downstairs is the space for entertaining while upstairs is the living space of the owner family. Because of all the art works it is not allowed to take pictures inside the building. However, I will briefly describe the interior although this of course doesn't replace an actual visit which I can highly recommend. Followed by the large entrance lobby the visitor reaches the very large an open space of the living room which has large windows facing the garden as well as the pine tree forest. The living room has a huge fire place. Its interior is kept simple, it contains mainly a seating area with furniture designed by Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto's first wife. Next to the living room is the music room that houses a special and rare grand piano build of aircraft materials and imported from Denmark in the 1950s. It also contains Maire's flowers. Next to the music room are two other rooms, the library and the winter garden. The library contains beautiful outfitting of Aalto's interior design while the winter garden shows interesting shapes that can also be found in Aalto's Savoy vase. Also on the ground floor is the dinning room. The dinning room appears very simple, measured by its furniture, but contains many interesting and smart details. Also on the ground floor is the kitchen and private quarters of the house keeper. These unfortunately were not accessible during the tour. As already mentioned earlier the house contains many works of famous artists, art one normally only finds in museums.
After the tour visitors have the chance to explore the garden by themselves. The garden contains a large swimming pool and a sauna as well as several nice seating areas. Interesting is also the fact that Aalto tried to connect the garden with the pine forest that starts right behind the house. He wanted a to give the impression that the garden is part of the forest and vise versa. While the house was designed very modern, Aalto wanted to contrast that modernism with a old style wooden sauna building. As there is no nearby lake or river Aalto created a large pool for the family to cool down and swim after taking the sauna.
Villa Mairea is a must visit if you are into Alvar Aalto's work and especially if you want to learn more about his transition from main-stream modernism towards his own style. This visit has definitely taught me a lot about Alvar Aalto's work and deepened my understanding what his own style is and what his work stand for.