Max Ernst Haefeli (1901-1976) – Swiss architect and designer

Haefeli chairs 1926 by Max Ernst Haefeli
Haefeli chairs 1926 by Max Ernst Haefeli

Max Ernst Haefeli (1901-1976) was a Swiss architect and designer born in Zurich.


He worked in the Otto Bartning studio in Berlin between 1923-24.

1924— 25, joined his father’s architecture office Pfleghard und Haefeli.

In 1925, he established his architectural firm.

In 1926, he designed the library’s refurbishment in Girsberger, Zurich, including the interior chairs and table.

In 1927, he was appointed head of the Swiss architects’ collective group.

Morris Chair 1927 by Max Ernst Haefeli
Morris Chair 1927 by Max Ernst Haefeli

He designed the Rotachhauser building, Wasserwerkstrasse, Zürich, in 1927—28, an early example of Switzerland’s Modern ‘Neues Bauen’ style and a breakthrough in Zürich architecture.

In the late 1920s, he worked closely with Ernst Kadler-Végeli and Swiss manufacturer Horgen-Glarus.

From 1928 to 1931, he was a member of the planning team for the 1931 Siedlung Neubiihl in Zürich.

He was a teacher at the artisan school in Zürich and at the Juventus Abendtechnikum.

In 1937, he co-founded the architectural firm Haefeli, Moser, and Steiger (HMS). HMS designed the Kongresshaus and the cantonal hospital in Zürich from 1942 to 1951. Haefeli was in charge of the hospital’s outer skin as well as its interior spatial layout. Later projects included the design and construction of swimming pools, cemeteries, zoos, and commercial buildings.

Work shown in the ‘Form ohne Ornament’ exhibition of c1927 (chair and table models for Girsberger boothstore).

(Furniture) put in the store for production at ‘Das Neue Heim’ c1931 exhibition, Wohnbedarf Shop, Zürich.

Head of the Schweizer Architekten Collective, the ‘Weissenhof-Siedlung’ in Stuttgart, 1927 (mobilisation and accessories for several apartments, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe).


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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