Alvar Aalto's tea trolley reissued with an update
Yet another Aalto classic was updated to fit 21st century interiors: Hella Jongerius worked on the 901 tea trolley on the Finnish brand, Artek’s commission. The original, debuting in 1936, is a prime example of modernist design to its last bits. It was born as a response to the rise of British and Japanese tea culture that was infiltrating not only to public tea houses but private homes as well. As a kind of ritual in both cultures, tea drinking requires a lot of time and space, and the trolley provided an instant and transportable solution for tea parties. Alvar Aalto’s design was produced exclusively with a simple blonde birch frame, featuring two wheels a two linoleum trays. Released a year later, the 900 version saw the addition of a wicker bag, and a tabletop covered with ceramic tiles for a lusher feel.
Jongerius relied on both versions when designing the contemporary edition of the trolley: the result keeps the essentials and lays emphasis on functionality as much as aesthetics. The trolley is available in either light birch or black lacquered versions, and the tabletop and the wheels have the same, slightly lighter hue than the frame. The lower tray’s darker colouring gives a subtle dynamism to the otherwise sleek and simple design, making the trolley sophisticated choice for the lovers of afternoon gatherings involving hot drinks and delicate cakes.
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