BRUNO MATHSSON (Swedish, 1907-1988)
Occasional side table, Sweden, 1942
burl and birch
13 3/8” H x 17 5/8” W x 11 7/8" D
Bruno Mathsson was a furniture designer and architect who blended ideas of functionalism and modernism with traditional Swedish handicrafts. After his education, Mathsson joined his father’s business, a carpentry workshop, where he focused his interests on furniture, particularly the design and function of chairs. Honing his technique, Mathsson created a new technique for fabrication in which he bent the wood using hot water, gluing the elements into place.
First creating the Grasshopper chair in 1931, Mathsson was invited to showcase work at the Röhsska Museum in 1936, leading to his inclusion at the World Exhibition in Paris the following year. While these successes led to a boom at the family’s furniture company, the onset of World War II brought Mathsson’s focus back to more functional pieces, like folding family dining tables. Later works include the Pernilla chairs (1944 and 1945), named after a journalist at Sweden’s biggest daily morning newspaper, who interviewed Mathsson in 1943. The Karin armchair of 1969 was named after Mathsson’s wife.
Achieving international renown, Mathsson also created Glass Houses throughout Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United States; the patented glass system he developed, the Bruno Pane, allowed for large glass walls. His furniture is represented in collections including the Röhsska Museum and the National Museum, among others.