Designer: Bruno Mathsson

Wright is proud to present the work of Bruno Mathsson, a leading Swedish furniture designer celebrated for bringing a highly technical functionalism to the traditional craft of furniture making. Wright holds several auction records for Mathsson designs with an 80% sell-through rate for his work.
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5 Things to Know About Bruno Mathsson

His first major design, the Grasshopper chair, was commissioned by the Värnamo Hospital for their reception area. People initially found them so unattractive that they stored them in the attic, only bringing them out after Mathsson became famous.

Mathsson researched the perfect seat curve by sitting in a snowbank and studying the resulting impression.

The Karin armchair and table are named after his wife, Karin Swärd, who was instrumental to the success of his career; her language skills helped spread his designs to global markets.

Mathsson patented his design of large, wall-sized panes of glass that were insulated and triple glazed. These Bruno Panes were used to construct his “glass houses.”

He designed the Superellipse table with Danish mathematician Piet Hein in 1968.

The act of sitting comfortably is a skill, although it shouldn’t be. Instead, the manufacture of seating should be carried out with such skill that the act of sitting in them becomes quite simple.

Bruno Mathsson

Bruno Mathsson 1907–1988

Bruno Mathsson was a leading furniture designer and architect in the modern Scandinavian design movement that combined functionalism with craft traditions. He was born in 1907 in Värnamo, Sweden. His father, Karl Mathsson, was a fifth generation cabinetmaker and Bruno naturally took to the family trade. From a young age, Bruno Mathsson was particularly interested in the highly technical side of furniture design and he’d eventually manage to seamlessly integrate progressive technical feats with more traditional approaches. Mathsson’s first recognition came in 1930 when a chair he presented at an Arts and Crafts exhibition in Värnamo won him a scholarship to study in Stockholm. While there, he was able to see the up-and-coming developments in Swedish design. Incorporating some of these new ideas into his own work, Matthson’s output from the early 1930s is characterized by plaited webbing that supports the body like a sling, curved seats and backrests that conform to the body and bent laminated wood frames that are both elegant and robust.

In 1936, a solo exhibition at the Röhsska Arts and Crafts Museum in Gothenburg raised his profile as a designer and also introduced his celebrated series of folding tables. The following year, he won the Grand Prix at the Paris Expo for his Paris Daybed, gaining him an international audience that would grow in the coming years as his design were featured in museums and expos throughout the world. In the late 1940s and into the early 1960s, Mathsson turned his attention to architecture and created a number of glass houses: in America, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal that had large glass window panes instead of walls.

Mathsson returned to designing furniture in the 1960s, adding steel to his repertoire of materials and working with the Danish designer, poet and mathematician Piet Hein. He continued working up until his death in 1988, leaving behind a collection of designs enduring and memorable in their utility and charm.

To learn more about a work by Bruno Mathsson in your collection, contact our specialists.
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