Young Bruno Mathsson worked in the cabinet workshop of his father, Karl Mathsson while also getting knowledge of design and architecture through self-education. It is said that Mathsson during the late 1920s a couple of times every month, took the train from Värnamo to Gothenburg where he borrowed books from the library at the Röhsska Museum of Craft and Design. It was the same museum that in 1936 put on his debut exhibition where Mathsson showed some of his chairs, recliners and lounge chairs made of laminated wood with webbed straps, produced by his father’s firm Firma Karl Mathsson.
In 1930 Mathsson had gotten a travel grant from the Värnamo design and industry organization to travel to the Stockholm International Exhibtion, which came to influence Mathsson a lot as a designer. In the following year he was appointed to design furniture to the new built hospital in Värnamo. Of these pieces, the armchair Gräshoppan (eng. The Grasshopper) that Mathsson made for the convalescents, is one of the most known. The nurses at the hospital weren’t too impressed by the chairs, and put them away in the attic, but when Mathsson had been exhibited at the Röhsska Museum in 1936 and later participated and recived a Grand Prix at the World Fair in Paris 1937, Gräshoppan was once again put into use.
From 1933-34 Mathsson studied the mechanics of sitting, adjusting angles to create the most comfort while working or resting. Through his participation at the Paris and New York world fair in 1937 and -39 Mathsson got his international breakthrough. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art acquired chairs by Mathsson to their café.
During the 1940’s Mathsson continued his work on the mechanics of sitting and claimed that all chairs should be designed for table height of 63 centimeters, suitable for multiple positions. In 1944 the recliner Pernilla 2 was launched, followed the next year by the lounge chair Pernilla.
During the later 1950’s Mathsson and his wife Karin went on a trip in USA, which inspired Mathsson to develop houses constructed with glass walls and concrete floors for a.o. Firma Karl Mathsson's office and showroom in Värnamo. In 1954 he designed the exhibitions hall and worker's housing for Kosta glassware.
During the 1960’s Mathsson designed the table Superellips with tension legs, together with Danish mathematician and poet Piet Hein. The table series became a huge success and was produced both by Danish Fritz Hansen and Bruno Mathsson's own company.
In 1966, Mathsson launched the Jetson armchair, with a free hanging seat on a steel pipe frame. Two yeras later Mathsson designed the armchair Karin which led to a successful long term collaboration with the Swedish company Dux/ Bra Bohag. Later Dux also took over the production of Mathsson's classic furniture from the 40’s and 50’s. The development of new designs was done by the firm Bruno Mathsson International founded in 1964. In 1974 the Mathsson couple traveled to Tokyo where Bruno’s furniture were shown at an exhibition at the Swedish Center Building. Two years later he’d developed a collection of furniture especially for the Japanese market.
Bruno Mathsson received several major awards during his career, such as the Gregor Paulsson Prize (1955), the Prince Eugen Medal (1965) and the Nordic Craft and Design Award (1974). Mathsson was also appointed a knight of the Royal Order of Vasa (1967), became a member of The Royal Society of Art in London (1978) and was given the professors title by the Swedish Government (1981).
In 1983 the Bruno and Karin Mathsson fund was founded with the aim of promoting research, education, and development. Since 1984 the Bruno Mahtsson prize is awarded a designer, company, or organization. At the Bruno Mathsson center in Värnamo the company shows his design in the glass house that he built close to his childhood home.
Bruno Mathsson died in 1988 at the age of 81.