Alvar Aalto's Beehive has a brand new black finish

One of the most anticipated Artek’s autumn releases is the new, black version of Alvar Aalto's Beehive. Its sophisticated spirit suits both homes and public spaces. Other new Aalto launches include The Golden Bell that is now also available as a wall lamp.

Artek Beehive black

ARTEK LAUNCHED its newest releases at the Maison & Objet design fair in Paris. The crown jewel of the collection is the long-awaited black version of Alvar Aalto's A331 pendant lamp, better known as the Beehive. The sculptural essence of the Beehive with its black and metallic surface is equally captivating when the lights are turned off.

Alvar Aalto designed the A331 lamp in 1953 for the University of Jyväskylä, and today it is one of his most popular lighting designs. Until now we have seen it only in white, however it isn’t the first time the Beehive has been clad in black.

Artek A331 black

The black matte surface interlaid with the brushed brass coloured rings make the Beehive a spectacular piece of design. 

Artek A331 Beehive black

The A331 pendant light is perfect hanging over a dining table. The new black colour is a much-anticipated release.

Originally, the Beehive was produced by a Helsinki-based workshop Valaistustyö Ky, founded by master metalworker Viljo Hirvonen. The early versions differed from the current design: they were made in variety of sizes and colours, not only in white but also in other tones including black, green and red. After Hirvonen’s passing, another company, Valaisinpaja Oy, continued the production, and the alternative size and colour versions were discontinued.

The idea behind Beehive, like in many of Aalto’s lamps, is in the interplay between indirect light and organic forms. The new luminaire is made of hand-spun aluminium. Its matte black-painted sides alternate with layers of brass-coloured perforated metal, filtering a golden glowing light. The white inside of the Beehive reflects direct light only straight upwards and downwards. Viewed from the side, the Beehive appears to be surrounded by a mere warm glow.

Artek A330S wall lamp

The popular A330S pendant lamp is now also available as a wall-mounted version

Artek A330S wall lamp

There are four colour versions of the A330S wall lamp: brass, chrome, black and white.

At the autumn 2018 Maison & Objet, Artek also launched a new wall lamp edition of the A330S luminaire, more known as the Golden Bell. Alvar Aalto designed it in 1937 for Helsinki’s Savoy Restaurant, and in the same year it was also exhibited at the Finnish Pavilion of the Paris World Expo. Today, the lamps are still in use in the Savoy, complementing the interior which was jointly designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto. A few early pieces of the wall version of the Golden Bell have been manufactured, but until now it has never before been taken into extensive production.

Similar to the Beehive, the Golden Bell is equally representative of Aalto's principle of indirect light. Its perforated lower edge prevents direct light from hitting the eyes and also scatters a beautiful pattern on surrounding walls. The Golden Bell wall light has a 180° angle swivelling arm, making it a pleasant reading light as well as an atmospheric addition to the general lighting.

Artek's new lighting products will arrive at Finnish Design Shop during the autumn.

See also:

Alvar Aalto's designs >

Text: Nora Uotila Images: Zara Pfeifer and Artek

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