Exhibitions at Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio Sanatorium’s exhibition program invites to explore different aspects of the building, its organisation and design, and ways of living in it from the time of its construction through its life of service up to today’s moment of its reinvention. Welcome to our permanent and changing thematical presentations to find new ideas and views about the past, present and future of life at Paimio Sanatorium.

The origin of Aalto furniture: Pertti Männistö’s collection at Paimio Sanatorium

Opening June 18

Over decades of travelling and research, Kaarina region-based collector Pertti Männistö has brought together the largest private collection of Aalto design in the world. In this, Männistö has especially focused on the origin of Aalto furniture design which is rooted in the design stage of Paimio Sanatorium in the years between 1928 and 1933. In fact, the majority of today’s renowned Aalto furniture designs were originally drawn and realised for Paimio Sanatorium, the building that brought world fame to the young architect couple.

Among original production designs, Männistö’s approximately one thousand item-spanning collection includes many prototypes that cast unique light on the surprising and often winding roads of their becoming. With this exhibition, the pieces return to the site of their inception at Paimio Sanatorium to each tell their own captivating story. Anyone curious about Aalto furniture and its position within the architects’ careers will see plenty to find in the collector’s immense historical, technical and sparkling anecdotal knowledge that proves continuously both insightful and fun.

Access to The origin of Aalto furniture: Pertti Männistö’s collection at Paimio Sanatorium exhibition is included in guided tour ticket price. You can also book ticket for all exhibitions only.

The origin of Aalto furniture: Pertti Männistö’s Aalto design collection at Paimio Sanatorium is curated by Miina Karske.

Elina Brotherus: Living Spaces

Opening May 31

Elina Brotherus, Transat (2015)

In the Sanatorium’s former patient rooms 209 to 213 Elina Brotherus shows photographic works created during two residency stays in 2015 and 2018 at Maison Louis Carré, the only Aalto building in France. As with previous series, Brotherus’ views of MLC work to sound out possible untraveled paths of life in extant architecture by inhabiting them as characters who may, imaginably, once have been breathing their airs.

Mounted on the rough, unrenovated walls of the Sanatorium’s old patient wing that resonate their prior use, Brotherus’ pictures ask not only who in times past may have been wandering or recovering in these spaces. In this moment of the Sanatorium’s rebirth-again, they come to be a meditation about those yet unknown who soon will be its newest population.

Showing two Aalto buildings in their extension beyond a human lifetime, Living Spaces places attention on these (and other) buildings’ capacity to play, and play differently, with life evolving over time. This way, the show deepens toward a reflection on the functionalist dictum of the twinship between form and (original) program, suggesting a new freedom through reimagination and reuse.

With this, Living Spaces prepares the reflective ground for the showing of a body of new works produced by Brotherus during a residency at Paimio Sanatorium in spring this year.

Access to Elina Brotherus: Living Spaces exhibition is free of charge.

Paimio Sanatorium presents Elina Brotherus: Living Spaces in cooperation with Les Amis de la Maison Carré, producer of the exhibition.

Rooms at Paimio Sanatorium

Permanent exhibition

Photos: Johannes Romppanen and Risto Musta (top), Jaska Poikonen (bottom)

Rooms at Paimio Sanatorium, exhibition from summer 2021 opens a new era for the sanatorium. Sanatorium building designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto is an architectural masterpiece, a gestalt, in which the details of interior design have a profound and very intimate relationship with the functionality and purpose of the building. At the same time, the architectural ensemble is in a unique relationship with the surrounding nature. At the heart of it all, however, is the human being, the person who contracted tuberculosis in the 1930s. Alvar and Aino Aalto wanted to create a functional but humane and beautiful environment for patients who came to the sanatorium to receive treatment, to seek hope. In the colors of the building, in the language of the forms, there is something quite exceptional timelessness, simplicity, yet in all things skillfully thought-out expediency.

The exhibition carries its guests to the patient rooms through the yellow staircases and turquoise corridors, the color scheme of the Paimio sanatorium. The experience is emotional, impressive. Just as tuberculosis shocked society in the 1930s, the pandemic has touched our daily lives over the past year, months. Time seems to stop for a moment, moving backwards in the moods of the rooms, to continue again in this moment. Human well-being is suddenly a fragile thing, and the connections of the moments are present.

The story of the exhibition consists of the time of construction, the birth of the sanatorium and its daily life. Impressive, black-and-white photographs are the very exceptional content of the exhibition, both very private and public. The images tell of the mutual energy and connection of two extremely talented architects. Alvar and Aino Aalto were equally world citizens, locals and Finns. Their work has left a huge significance in the history of modern architecture. And the core and heart of everything has always genuinely been human wellbeing.

Access to Rooms at Paimio Sanatorium exhibition is included in guided tour ticket price. You can also book ticket for all exhibitions only.

Rooms at Paimio Sanatorium is curated by Miina Karske and Martin Born in collaboration with Henna Helander.