Bruno Mathsson (1907 – 1988) is known as one of the most respected Swedish Modern designers of the 20th Century. He was born to a family of carpenters and cabinetmakers, yet part of the new generation of innovators and creators that embraced new materials and ergonomic and biomorphic designs. From the later 1940s and 1950s, Mathsson chose to focus more on building design and architecture creating revolutionary buildings from glass and homes that were specific to the dreams of his clients. As a largely self-taught artist, Mathsson’s passion for functionality was what drove his experimenting and resulted in his classic style. He was greatly influenced by the craftsmanship of his family and the books and exhibitions he exposed himself to in his own studies. He traveled extensively through the USA and established connections with Japan for his furniture. Mathsson’s furniture and his buildings are recognizable by their simple structures and gentle forms.
Knowing that Bruno Mathsson was born into a family where design and physical creations was part of everyday life, it is only a natural progression that his fascination with challenging the principles of design becomes his life’s focus. Although Mathsson did not attend a formal academic institution, he was studious and diligent in his field. In 1930, his father’s workshop exhibited as part of an Arts and Crafts exhibition where the chair that Mathsson had designed won him a scholarship and the opportunity to visit renowned Functionalist exhibitions. It was after this experience that Bruno Mattson’s name became more circulated and he was asked to design a chair for the local hospital in Värnamo. It was there that Mathsson’s career kicked off and he was able to establish his own unique style. He was exhibited in shows around Europe from Sweden to Paris, Tokyo and New York. Mathsson was assigned the title of Professor by the Swedish government, along with numerous other honorable mentions and medals.
Bruno Mattheson, Eva Chair (circa 1970) Beech wood and fabric, Sweden
Bruno Mathsson’s Eva Chair is among his earliest designs and features his characteristic investigation of the ‘comfortable seat’. The chair was first designed in 1934 for the Karl Mathsson workshop. With bent beech wood legs and arms, the smooth lines of the chair is recognizably in line with the Scandinavian Modernism and Functionalism, where aesthetic and functionality work together to create a striking piece. The woven chair seat of the chair’s body is a recurring technique used by Matthson but was first experimented with in his Eva chair. The chair was a commercial success making it an iconic piece of modern furniture design.