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Beehive Pendant Light
Iconic Designs

Beehive Pendant Light

About the Design

Nicknamed “Beehive” for its resemblance to a bee’s nest, the Pendant Light A331 is among the most famous designs from revered Finnish architect and furniture maker Alvar Aalto (1898–1976). 


In 1951, Aalto won a competition to design the main campus of a research university in Jyväskylä, where he had spent much of his childhood. Aalto also operated his studio in the small Finnish town from 1923 to 1933, when he and his first wife, Aino, relocated to Helsinki. In designing eight buildings for the University of Jyväskylä, Aalto planned a campus that echoed the layout of a Greek acropolis — Jyväskylä residents referred to their town as the “Athens of Finland” for its education focus, and the architect took this comparison to heart, prioritizing open-air civic space and other innovations. And just as he and Aino designed the Paimio armchair and all other furnishings for their famed tuberculosis sanatorium project — a masterpiece of functionalism — Aalto also specified furniture and interiors for his structures in Jyväskylä. The Beehive pendant was introduced in 1953 as part of the commission.


The Beehive pendant light’s elegant spherical shape is framed by five bands of handspun aluminum. But it’s the perforated steel rings underneath this multipart “shade” that comprise the unsung hero of the pendant — they provide for a diffusion of light that gives the Beehive a soft glow. The fixture is still manufactured by Artek, the company Alvar and Aino helped cofound in 1935. Within its 13-inch diameter, the Beehive pendant light encompasses many of Alvar Aalto’s most recognizable calling cards: reference to nature, sculptural form, thoughtful mechanics and overall warmth.


Alvar Aalto Beehive Pendant Light

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Alvar Aalto, Original Production Larger Size Beehive Lamp, Valaistustyo Ky
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
Alvar Aalto for Valaistustyo Ky, Finland circa 1953. An original "Beehive" lamp in the much less often seen larger version which features 6 rings rather than the usual five. White en...
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Metal

"Beehive" Ceiling Lamp Model A331 by Alvar Aalto, Valaisinpaja OY, Finland 1960s
By Valaisinpaja Oy, Alvar Aalto
Located in Stockholm, SE
Ceiling lamp model A331 or "beehive" designed by Alvar Aalto. Produced by Valaisinpaja in Finland during the 1960s. Made from white lacquered aluminum and perforated brass. Very good...
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Brass, Aluminum

Alvar Aalto 'Beehive' Ceiling Lamp by Valaisinpaja Oy
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Alvar Aalto, A331 'Beehive' ceiling lamp by Valaisinpaja Oy, Finland, 1950s. This Classic beehive shaped sphere has a very elegant and soft lighting and is very nicely finished w...
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Metal, Brass

Early Alvar Aalto A331 Beehive Pendant
By Alvar Aalto, Valaisinpaja Oy
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Beautifully organic A331 "beehive" pendant light by Alvar Aalto for Valaisinpaja Oy, Finland for the Jyva¨skyla¨ University, the lamp features alternating white enameled and perforat...
Category

Vintage 1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Brass, Metal

Alvar Aalto, First Production "Beehive" Ceiling Lamp, Painted Aluminum, Brass
By Valaistustyö, Alvar Aalto
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An early organic Beehive ceiling lamp / pendant designed by Alvar Aalto in 1953 and produced by Valaistustyö Ky, Finland. Height adjustable. As illustrated in images, lamp produces a...
Category

Vintage 1950s European Organic Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Aluminum, Brass

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