Shortly after her graduation in Architecture at the University of Helsinki in 1949, Elissa Aalto (née Kaisa) started to work in Aalto's office. Only three years later they married each other. From then on Elissa accompanied Alvar while he travelled and she supported him in all of the challenges of design and life.
The Aalto design office had to design the Helsingbord fair in 1955. The design fair exhibited furnished homes and apartments – a representative furnished home per participating country. Alvar Aalto therefore furnished a 3-room apartment, by means of connecting the ideas of the home project he created for the Tiergarten in Berlin with elements for rented flats. A detail of the furnishing came from Elissa Aalto, who created a timeless print with her textile design H55, which remained vivid in many of the Artek designs until today.
After Alvar Aalto's death in 1976, Elissa started managing the design office in Munkkiniemi and Helsinki as well as Artek. Moreover Elissa led some of the Alvar projects which weren't finished by her husband – like the Essen opera house. Elissa Aalto – designer, architect and wife of Alvar Aalto – is considered to be a remarkable messenger of Finnish design.