New season – New highlights: Exceptional armchairs by Carl Bergsten

One of the highlights of this autumn's Modern Auction are two very unusual armchairs by architect Carl Bergsten.

The chairs were designed for Strömsholmens Café at the Industrial Exhibition in Norrköping in 1906. These armchairs were a wedding gift from Carl Bergsten to his close friend and colleague Builder Ernst Lundberg.

Architect and furniture designer Carl Bergsten's significance for the development of modern architecture and furniture design in Sweden during the beginning of the 20th century cannot be overestimated. Several of his assignments, such as the Industrial Exhibition in Norrköping in 1906, the Swedish pavilion at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1925 and the interior of the MS Kungsholmen in 1928, have been of crucial importance for the development of Swedish architecture and design.

Carl Bergsten (1879-1935), then 25 years old, was appointed Chief Architect at the Industrial Exhibition in his hometown of Norrköping in 1906. During an earlier study trip to Europe, Bergsten met architect Josef Hoffmann in Vienna and became inspired by him and his colleagues active in the progressive Viennese Secession. Bergsten took the impressions home to Sweden and in 1906 he carried out one of the largest modern manifestations in Swedish history. For Strömsholmens Café and Restaurant, Bergsten designed, among other things, a chair and an armchair which, with its austere geometric shapes and technical innovations, came to write Swedish furniture history. The armchair, which according to pictures from the exhibition was only made in a few copies, is extremely unusual. To our knowledge, in modern times it has never appeared on the market but only appeared in public at Norrköping City Museum. The majority of the chairs were probably destroyed in a fire in the 1930s, the exhibition building was later demolished in the 1940s. These two exclusive armchairs are probably Bergsten's first executed copies as they both differ in design, with odd manufacturing details and material choices.

Bergsten's innovative design required its manufacturer, which Bergsten found with Gemla Leksaksfabrik in Diö. The then-new bentwood technology that inspired him during the meeting with Josef Hoffmann in Vienna required an ambitious producer. Together with Gemla, they experimented with materials and techniques to produce the first bentwood furniture in Sweden, the auction's two armchairs.

Builder Ernst Lundberg (1878-1946) was born in Strömsbro in Gävle. After graduating as a civil engineer in Stockholm, Lundberg quickly became successful for his enormous professional knowledge and his happy mood. The industrial exhibition in Norrköping in 1906 was one of his first major projects and was the starting point of a long and close friendship with Carl Bergsten. Ernst Lundberg married Astrid Lundberg in 1906. Carl Bergsten's wedding gift, the two armchairs, has followed the family ever since. Ernst Lundberg collaborated with several architects during his career and became a successful developer.

The armchairs will be sold at Bukowski's Modern Art + Design with the estimate: SEK 250 000–300 000 / piece

When is the viewing and auction?
Viewing 19 – 23 November, Bukowskis, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm.
Auction 24 – 25 November Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm.

Consignment and valuation

Consignments are now under way for our upcoming auctions. Welcome to contact us today.

Eva Seeman
Eva Seeman
Head Specialist Design and 20th-21st C Works of Art
+46 (0)708 92 19 69
Camilla Behrer
Camilla Behrer
Specialist Design and 20th Century Works of Art
+46 (0)708 92 19 77
Jonatan  Jahn
Jonatan Jahn
Specialist Design and 20th-21st Century Works of Art
+46 (0)703 92 88 60