Finnish art, architecture, design and photography fills Pitzhanger Manor this summer as part of an exhibition of  pioneering  design by Alvar Aalto and breathtaking architectural photography by  Ola Kolehmainen

This summer, the art, architecture and design of Finland will be celebrated in London. ‘Reason & Intuition  –  Alvar Aalto and Ola Kolehmainen in Soane’  is  a  new exhibition bringing  together the finest works of an acknowledged great of international modernist architecture  and  design and three collections of images by an acclaimed Finnish photographer. 

Reason & Intuition runs from 4 July-24 August 2014 at PM Gallery & House. Sitting in WalpolePark, central Ealing, the gallery is the extension to one of Sir John Soane’s great architectural treasures, Pitzhanger Manor,  the ‘dream house’ designed by Soane as a place to entertain his friends  and  display  his  collection  of  art  and  antiquities. 

The  exhibition  is  a  collaboration between PM Gallery & House, the AlvarAaltoMuseum and the Finnish Institute in London. Alvar  Aalto  (1898-1976)  was  a  central  figure  in  international  modernism.  His  sculptural,  and highly functional, furniture produced in the 1930s remains influential and very popular.

Reason  &  Intuition  will  feature  around  forty  Aalto  creations,  including  chairs,  tables,  lights, glassware  and  textiles,  as  well  as  rarer  pieces,  such  as  a  collection  of  original  designs  and plans  for  some  of  Aalto’s  500  buildings  and  glassware  designed  by  his  first  wife  and collaborator,  Aino.  Visitors  to  the  exhibition  will  be  able  to  sit  at  an  Aalto  table,  on  Aalto chairs and pore over his original designs, photographs and plans for private houses, such as the extraordinary Villa Mairea, which  was designed to emulate a Finnish forest. 

As  Aalto’s  work  fills  Pitzhanger,  three  distinct  collections  of  Ola  Kolehmainen  (1964-) photography will take over PM Gallery:  his acclaimed, abstract, Aalto-influenced architectural images  (featuring some Aalto buildings),  as  well as new work exploring  the Siena Cathedral  in Italy (a building highly regarded by Aalto) and the most significant mosques in Istanbul.

Kolehmainen’s photographs depict sections of buildings, examining the strictly ordered rows of repetitive  patterns  and  elements  of  symmetry.  Reflections  are  significant  in  Kolehmainen’s work and a way of bringing the warmth of the natural world into man-made structures; trees, clouds and people are all reflected on the surfaces of  buildings, in swimming pools and inside the Siena Cathedral.  

The works are produced using the Diasec process, which means that the environment is reflected in the surface of the photos  as well as in the images  themselves  –  a calculated component of his work. The  complex  new  images  are  theatrical  and  epic  in  scale,  with  a  nod  to  architectural  history and  even  classical  painting. 


PM Gallery & House, WalpolePark, Mattock Lane, EalingW5 5EQ
Admission is free to all visitors 

Most Read