Bruno Mathsson
Bruno Mathsson was born in Sweden, in a family of master cabinet makers. At an early age he was taught the necessary skills acquiring a well developed feeling for the characteristics of wood as well as a solid technical knowledge. He was fascinated by designing functional furniture combined with high technical quality and it was the idea of the Functionalist Movement that was to inspire him.
In 1929, the curator at the Röhsska Arts and Crafts Museum - Gustaf Munthe - became a contact who was to have an influence on Bruno Mathsson ’s career. Soon large boxes filled with books were sent by train between Gothenburg and Värnamo and Bruno Mathsson educated himself through detailed study. In 1930, he won a scholarship at the Arts and Crafts exhibition and he had the opportunity to developing his own design language. He carefully studied the ”mechanics of sitting ” and began experimenting with the techniques of bent laminating wood, gaining the skills to make components of great strength with gracefully executed minimalist details. Early in 1936, Bruno Mathsson had his first one man exhibition and its success was the breakthrough which defined his reputation as a leading designer in Sweden.
The international recognition came in 1937, in France, where he won a Grand Prix for his bed named “Paris”. Two years later, the manager of the design department of MoMa in New York, Edgar Kaufmann Jr., ordered Mathsson´s chairs for a new extension of the museum. During the 1960´s, together with the Danish poet and mathematician Piet Hein, he developed the Superellipse table and the Spanleg. In 1969, Bruno Mathssons furniture was first shown in Japan. That lead to him developing a furniture collection adapted for the Japanese market in 1976 and the licensed manufacturing began.
Bruno Mathsson was assigned the title “professor” by the Swedish government in 1981. In the same year, at the age of seventy-four, he created a workstation for computer users. The last piece of furniture to leave Bruno Mathsson´s drawing-table was the easy chair Minister in 1986. Following illness, Bruno Mathsson died in 1988 leaving behind a rich cultural heritage. His designs remain timeless. They are looked upon both as art and as utility goods whilst simultaneously being displayed in museums. To each new generation they appear modern, fresh and functional.

source: text by Henry Thelander

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