Continuing the best of the Mad House, I really did enjoy learning about this company.
Amid all the shouting about the Paris trade show Maison et Objet 2014, there was one name which seemed to keep popping up or, perhaps once I had noticed it it seemed like it was everywhere. That name was Swedese, which was set up sixty years ago in, you guessed it, Sweden. So, ever the intrepid reporter me, I started to hunt about to see what all the fuss was about.
Turns out it was founded in 1945 by two brothers Yngve and Jerker Ekström and Sven Bertil Sjöqvist. As their site explains: “Many modernist architects were universal designers with, not only a clear understanding of designing houses, but also the interior, the furniture and almost the clothes the owners might wear.
“Swedese’s founder, Yngve Ekström, was no exception. Together with names including Alvar Aalto, Bruno Mathsson, Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjaerholm, Yngve Ekström was at the core of a generation of designers who made the concept “Scandinavian Modern” famous all over the world. With a keen eye, he designed Swedese’s furniture, the head office building, logo, catalogues and personalised Christmas cards including their own poems. And so on.”
It’s an approach that’s not unusual in Scandinavia; Jacobsen took similar control of his projects often insisting on designing not just the interior but the furniture and lighting as well as cutlery and door handles.
The most well known of Yngve Ekström’s designs is the Lamino armchair (shown above) from 1956, which is still manufactured and sold all over the world. In 1999 the Lamino was voted the Twentieth Century’s Best Swedish Furniture Design by the Swedish interior design magazine Sköna Hem.
Like many of these classic designs, it turns out that we are often familiar with them without knowing why or where they came from. That’s certainly the case for me with the tree coat stand. I’ve wanted one for years. Sadly the budget doesn’t permit but at least I know where to look.