Vintage Asko Furniture
Vintage Asko Furniture is original 20th century furniture produced by the Finnish manufacturer Asko.
Brief History and Description
Asko is a Finnish home furnishing company, enduringly considered a leader in its field. They are known for having produced high quality furniture for over ninety years.
Established in 1918 by Aukusti-Asko-Avonius, the company originally began as a small carpentry workshop located in Lahti, 100 kilometres north of Helsinki. By the 1930s, the company had developed into the largest furniture retailer chain in Finland and the largest furniture supplier in the Nordic counties.
Asko has collaborated with several prominent designers throughout their long history, and on celebrating their 90th anniversary in 2008, Asko also re-released several of their older pieces. During the company’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, Asko was a byword for style and innovation and was a pioneer of the Mid-Century - and Danish - Modern movements.
Their furniture was designed by some of Scandinavia’s leading furniture designers, like Tapio Wirkkala, Eero Aarnio, Maija Heikinheimo and Voitto Haapalainen.
Famous pieces produced by the company include the ‘Laila’ easy chair and sofas, which were introduced in 1948 and designed by Ilmari Lappalain. The ‘Jugend’ dining set and Markku Pakkanen’s ‘Harlekiini’ chair are considered as highly representative of innovative 1990s design.
Their tables, chairs and sofas were not only exported throughout Europe but were also sold in America and the company is one of the most well-known Finnish trademarks.
The company still operates from its factory in Lahti.
Guide For Collectors
Vintage Asko pieces can be found at both mainstream and specialist auctioneers, as well as antique shops. They have also appeared at online auction sites such as eBay, where prospective collectors may find great bargains and rare finds.
However, if purchasing online, collectors are advised to carefully assess the condition and age of a piece before committing to buy, so as to avoid disappointment. If in doubt, they should seek professional opinion.
Records show that pieces designed by Eero Aarnio – particularly his Globe and Ball chairs - Ilmari Tapiovaara and Tapio Wirkkala’s plywood tables achieve the highest prices.
Other well-known pieces manufactured by the company include the Harlekiini chair, designed by Markku Pakkanen and Ilmari Lappalain’s Laily easy chairs and sofas which were introduced in 1948.
A vintage Asko ‘Ball’ chair with red fibreglass shell and lavender fabric-upholstered interior sold for $1,200 from | Rago Modern Auctions on 29th October 2005.
On May 6th 2005 at Sotheby’s in London, a Ball chair, designed by Eero Aarnio, dated 1962, realised a price of £9,840.
An Asko coffee table with rectangular laminated plywood top dated from 1996 sold at the same auction for $2,400, and a black and red Asko ‘Ball’ chair dated from 1962 sold for $2,500 from Art & Auctionhouse HERR on 20th November 2010.
On November 17th 2011 at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York, a pair of Crinolette chairs, designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara, circa 1963, realised a price of $8,500.
On September 20th 1995 at Christie’s in London, a Globe chair, designed by Eero Aarnio, dated 1966, realised a price of £4,725.
On April 28th 2010 at Phillips de Pury & Company, a Rhythmic Plywood coffee table, designed by Tapio Wirkkala, circa 1957, realised a price of $8,000.
At a lower price point, a pair of vintage Asko molded ‘Cognac’ chair in a shiny white molded fibreglass frame with dark green velvet cushions sold for $900 on 29th March 2006 from Uniques & Antiques, Inc.
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