Rival chair design by Konstantin Grcic – Artek

At imm cologne 2015, Artek presents Rival, the result of the first collaboration between Konstantin Grcic and Artek.

Rival is a universal chair suited for homes, public spaces and offices. Decidedly rooted in the Artek furniture tradition, it represents a modern and fresh approach to the wooden chair. The legs are milled from one piece of solid birch, taking on a fluid quality more similar to moulded plastic than timber, while the back and armrests are made of saw-cut birch lamella. True to Alvar Aalto’s construction principles, the individual elements of the chair are visibly added, and the backrest is directly joined to the seat shell.

But what at first glance might look like a typical wooden chair has the functionality and comfort of a task chair. Concealed in a bowl under the upholstered seat sits an intelligent “knot”, a mechanism that gives the Rival its characteristic swivel function. Besides comfort and flexibility, this finesse also delineates how to intuitively use the chair.


Konstantin Grcic says:

The name Rival is not about competition, but about self-confidence. The Rival stands astride the strong history of Artek and Alvar Aalto. It doesn’t hold back, but proudly says ‘this is how we make furniture today’.

The seating comfort of Rival is also supported by a conscious choice of variations and materials. Rival manifests itself in two versions with a low (KG001) and a high (KG002) back, which can be seen as two equal characters serving different purposes. The low backrest of KG001 freely describes a space and gives just the right amount of support for active, flexible seating. The high backrest of KG002 offers a more defined support and guides the user’s movements. KG001 and KG002 are available in a variety of colours combined with leather or 3D textile upholstery.

As its self-confident name suggests, Rival finds its place in many different environments: by itself at home, in a group around a table or multiplied in a restaurant. At imm cologne 2015 Artek presents a café that prominently features Rival, to mark the market introduction of the chair. Visitors to the Artek Café are welcome to take a seat, enjoy a coffee and experience the several variations of Rival in an informal setting.

In addition, Artek reintroduces several design classics from the archives of Finnish masters Alvar Aalto and Ilmari Tapiovaara. Alvar Aalto’s group of “domestic helpers” – Wall Drawer 114B, Coat Rack 109C, Mirror 192A and 192B – as well as Ilmari Tapiovaara’s skulptural Crinolette chair are represented.