Bruno Mathsson (1907 – 1988) Swedish Designer & Architect

Dutch Grasshopper Lounge Chair, Sweden, 1974 by Bruno Mathsson
Dutch Grasshopper Lounge Chair, Sweden, 1974 by Bruno Mathsson

Bruno Mathsson was a Swedish architect and furniture designer whose ideas were influenced by functionalism, modernism, and old Swedish craft traditions.

Biography

Mathsson grew up in the town of Värnamo in Sweden’s Smland region, the son of a master cabinet maker. After a brief period of schooling, he began working in his father’s gallery. He quickly developed a strong interest in furniture, particularly chairs, their function and their design. In the 1920s and 1930s, he invented a method for making bentwood chairs out of hemp webbing. In 1931, the first model, known as the Grasshopper, was used at Värnamo Hospital.

Mathsson’s chairs were collected by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., director of the Industrial Design Department at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and featured in several exhibitions in the 1940s. Kaufmann regarded Mathsson’s contribution to furniture design as equal to that of Alvar Aalto. At Fallingwater, Kaufmann and his family also had a Mathsson chair.

Architecture

Mathsson was also a skilled architect, having completed approximately 100 structures in the 1940s and 1950s. He was Sweden’s first architect to create all-glass structures with heated floors. His furniture showroom in Värnamo (1950) was a notable example; it has been well-preserved and is open to the public today. He created “Bruno-Pane” double- and triple-pane insulated glass units for his glasshouses.

He travelled extensively in the United States and was heavily influenced by George Fred Keck’s solar houses. Mathsson’s architecture was also influenced by Charles and Ray Eames’ visit to the Eames House in March 1949, just as it was being completed.

Sources

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, July 31). Bruno Mathsson. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:31, October 13, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bruno_Mathsson&oldid=1036346611

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