1939: Housing Exhibition

The Housing Exhibition was opened in the Exhibition Hall on 7 October 1939, but due to the threat of war, it had to be shut down only four days later. However, despite the exhibition’s short duration, 15,000 people managed to visit it.

The exhibition was organised by the Asuntoreformiyhdistys, the Applied Art Association in Finland ORNAMO, the Finnish Association of Architects and the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design. Alvar Aalto acted as the chair of the exhibition committee and Kaj Englund as the exhibition architect.

The exhibition examined the housing question comprehensively and offered advice for the improvement of the quality of housing. Kaj and Li Englund had created interior designs for entire rooms for the exhibition. The exhibition also included a small farmer’s home furnished with Ilmari Tapiovaara furniture. Furniture made by Artek and the Kerava carpenter factory, among others, was on display. Of the textiles, the elegant furniture fabrics and curtains of Greta Skogster-Lehtinen, and of the lamps, the lamps of Paavo Tynell and Lisa Johansson-Pape, are mentioned.

The exhibition was international, for Finland’s neighbours Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Estonia all had their own sections in it.