Carl Malmsten and the Stockholm City Hall Chair

July 3, 2023

Carl Malmsten and the Stockholm City Hall Chair

As Stockholm City Hall celebrates its centennial, it shines a spotlight on its rich history, from its construction following a competitive architectural design contest to the more personal tales embedded within its walls. An intriguing chapter in this narrative involves a design competition held for its interior, resulting in Carl Malmsten's chair – a masterpiece which, despite winning the competition, was never used in the City Hall. Today, the enduring Malmsten City Hall Chair, crafted from smoked oak and herringbone braided rattan, holds a place of honor in the limited anniversary edition, a testament to Malmsten's impact on Swedish furniture culture

This year the Stockholm City Hall is celebrating its 100th anniversary. This iconic building stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island and houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls. It is the venue of the yearly Nobel Prize banquet and is today one of Stockholm's major tourist attractions.

In 1907, the Stockholm city council decided to build a new city hall, and an architectural design competition was held, which first resulted in the selection of drafts by some of Sweden´s most prominent architects at the time, among them Ragnar Östberg, Carl Westman and Carl Bergsten. After further competition between Westman and Östberg, the latter was assigned the construction. The impressive building was inaugurated in June 1923.

Also regarding the interior of the City Hall a design competition was held in 1916. It was initiated by the architect Ragnar Östberg and the Swedish Crafts and Design Association (today Svensk Form). Only 28 years old Carl Malmsten (1988–1972) won both first and second price. This came to be the start of his career as a furniture designer and for over fifty years to come Malmsten remained the portal figure when it comes to the traditional Swedish furniture culture.   

Surprisingly Malmstens´s chair was never used in the City Hall's interior. Malmsten of course reacted strongly to this. He expressed his surprise through the words: “My chair suits every determined, orderly- but not angularly bureaucratic- person, rooted in reality…”

The Malmsten City Hall Chair is today handcrafted by the company Tre Sekel, located in Tibro on the west side of Sweden. The museum collection's chair is no.1 in a limited anniversary edition from 2016. A hundred years after Malmsten’s design it´s still a masterpiece made of smoked oak and herringbone braided rattan.

Stadshusstolen designed b Carl Malmsten in 1916
Designer of the month
Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen is one of the most known Scandinavian architects and furniture designers of the 20th century with pieces such as the Ant, the Swan and the Egg, as well as buildings such as the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and the Saint Catherine’s College in Oxford.

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