Artek wins 2014 Good Design Award for Konstantin Grcic’s Rival chair

Artek, the renowned Finnish furniture design company, is proud to announce the recognition of the Rival chair designed by Konstantin Grcic in the 2014 Good Design Awards. Founded in Chicago in 1950 by architects Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Good Design bestows international recognition upon the world’s most prominent designers and manufacturers for advancing new, visionary, and innovative product concepts, invention and originality, and for stretching the envelope beyond what is considered ordinary product and consumer design.

Rival is a chair designed with an eye towards those who work from home. In its use of materials, it reflects its roots in the legacy of Artek, with a mix of solid birch for the legs, laminated birch for the arms and back and in the circular geometry of the seat. It also has a technical finesse, which makes it a true piece of modern design. The swivel feature offers a clear purpose to the function of the chair. The form is about comfort, even as it is typologically different from a normal chair.

Grcic designed the legs milled from one piece of solid birch. This technique has recently been used in a number of chairs, resulting in the wood taking on a fluid quality more like molded plastic than timber. He has maintained a more conventional form that reflects the materiality of birch. The birch of the back and the arms is displayed in a saw-cut lamella.

For Grcic, designing a chair works on a number of levels. First, there is the choice of materials, and it was clear that for the Rival, birch would play an important part. Second, there is the home office typology, a reflection of a contemporary approach to life. Lastly, there is what might be called the grammar of construction: the way in which a piece is put together. The first incarnation of Rival is an armchair with a high and a low back version, an upholstery seat choice with a three-dimensional textile or leather upholstery, available in a range of colours.

Now in its 64th year, the Good Design Awards remain the oldest and most recognized program for design excellence worldwide, conferred annually by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design together with the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. In November, the judges met and selected over 500 product designs and graphics from over 35 nations based on innovation, form, materials and construction, concept, function, utility, and aesthetic appeal. Rival is featured with other award recipients on the Chicago Athenaeum website.  


In the radical spirit of its founders, Artek is in the vanguard of creating future paths within and between the disciplines of design, architecture and art. Artek has been a pioneer of ethical design since 1935. The cornerstones of Artek’s strategy are ethics, aesthetics and ecology. In Artek, this translates into high quality, timeless icons and tomorrow’s archetypes in humane design. The core of Artek’s product range consists of furniture and lamps designed by Alvar Aalto and the furniture collection of Ilmari Tapiovaara. In accordance with its current portfolio strategy, Artek has extended its collection to respond to the ever growing demand. In autumn 2013, Artek signed a cooperation contract with Yrjö Kukkapuro and launched small interior design objects by Kaj Franck. In September 2013, Artek passed into the ownership of Vitra AG.

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