Alvar Aalto (1898 – 1976) was an architect and designer born in Kuortane, Finland. He earned a degree in architecture from Helsinki Polytechnic and went on to design major public buildings including museums and concert halls – he also created housewares and furniture for brands such as Iittala and Artek. He is perhaps best known for his Savoy vase, inspired by the waves of the Finnish lakes. This striking design premiered at the 1930 New York World's Fair and caused an international sensation. Alvar Aalto emphasized that his work should speak for itself. In an interview in 1950, he said, What an architect says doesn't mean a damned thing.