The life and work of world-famous pioneering architect couple AINO AND ALVAR AALTO to be published by Otava and represented worldwide by the Elina Ahlback Literary Agency

We are thrilled to announce the first deal for a unique book about the life and work of the world-famous architect couple Aino and Alvar Aalto. Otava Publishing will publish Aino and Alvar Aalto in Finnish in September 2021. The book is based on previously unpublished correspondence between the couple from 1921-1949 and compiled and written by Heikki Aalto-Alanen, a grandson of the Aaltos.

“It is a great pride and joy to have the opportunity to work with Heikki Aalto-Alanen on publishing this intimate and powerful story of Aino and Alvar Aalto, the world-famous masters of Finnish architecture and design. This will be the first time readers receive an inside look into their partnership in life, love and work. This is a story that truly deserves to be told to readers — Aalto-scholars, enthusiasts and just about everybody — around the world”, says Minna Castrén, Literary Director, Otava Publishing Company Ltd.


Aino & Alvar Aalto: Mirror Like an Ocean Reflecting Your Smile
by Heikki Aalto-Alanen

This is the love story of the world-famous, pioneering design couple Aino and Alvar Aalto.
Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino are internationally celebrated for their architecture, furniture, glassware and other interior design, but their personal lives have been relatively unknown – until now. This book, written by the Aaltos’ grandson, contains photos, sketches, and personal letters between Aino and Alvar beautifully illustrating how inseparable this couple was both in work and love.

“Countless books have been written about Alvar Aalto’s architecture and other works. Recently, Aino Marsio-Aalto has also received the recognition she deserves in her own right as well as in her role in the rise of Alvar Aalto as one of the leading architects of the 20th century,” says Heikki Aalto-Alanen. “The voice in this book is personal. I want to tell the story of Aino and Alvar’s unique partnership, relationship, and their joint life work from the perspective of a family member. I also want their own voices to be heard.”

In addition to the photographs from the family archive, the book is illustrated with Aino and Alvar’s drawings of each other and of their children, as well as landscape drawings made while traveling, along with other architectural drawings and photographs.

English-language material to be available in November 2020

Rights sold:


About author

Heikki Aalto-Alanen

Heikki Aalto-Alanen is the grandson of architects Aino and Alvar Aalto, who has previously served as vice chairman of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, been a member of Artek’s Board of Directors, member of the Alvar Aalto Academy Board, and held other positions maintaining Aino and Alvar Aalto’s artistic work and heritage. Today he is serving as the chairman of the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation, established in 2020 to preserve Aino and Alvar Aalto's early masterpiece. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Alvar and Aino Aalto Estate Ltd. Heikki Aalto-Alanen is a lawyer by profession and has worked in the Nordic financial market.

His book tells the story of Aino and Alvar Aalto, depicted through their previously unpublished correspondence from 1921-1949, photographs and drawings.


2021, General Nonfiction, Memories & Biographies

The Story of Aino and Alvar Aalto

Heikki Aalto-Alanen