On the Royal Stage: the Iconic Confidencen Chair

August 1, 2023

On the Royal Stage: the Iconic Confidencen Chair

The Royal Court Theatre Confidencen, a testament to Sweden's Rococo period, stands as a symbol of the country's rich cultural heritage, its stage playing host to myriad performances since its establishment in 1753. Reflecting the theatre's aesthetic, Per Öberg's Confidencen Chair, masterfully crafted from solid wood with webbed veneer, serves as a manifestation of Swedish design principles - an elegant blend of functionality, comfort, and timeless style.

Sweden's first rococo theatre, Royal Court Theatre Confidencen, was inaugurated in 1753 by Sweden's Queen Lovisa Ulrika. A French theatre group was hired with the aim to raise the level of Swedish performing arts. The architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz (1716–1796) was commissioned to design a new theatre building close to the Royal summer castle Ulriksdal. The interior was decorated in a style that would become the image of Swedish elegant rococo.

The Confidencen Theatre flourished for 100 years, but then fell into disrepair and the stage machinery was demolished during the 1860s.
In 1976, famous Swedish opera singer Kjerstin Dellert (1925–2018) discovered the venue, saw its potential, and began a struggle to get the Confidencen Theatre back in use. In the 1980s, after a few years of renovation, the theatre could be re-inaugurated and is today a fully functioning opera stage and together with the summer castle a tourist attraction for the city of Stockholm.

For the new theatre salon, the architect Per Öberg (b.1954) was hired to design the auditorium chair which accordingly was named the Confidencen Chair, made of solid wood with webbed veneer in the seat and back. The prototypes were made by the carpenter Johan Hellström and the final serial production by Åfors Möbelfabrik in Småland. The Småland county still holds a few small-scale furniture workshops alongside middle-sized manufacturers and the multinational Ikea company. But internationally Småland is probably best known as the home of Astrid Lindgren’s fairy tale characters like Emil, Pippi, and others.

Confidencen Chair by Per Öberg in 1984
Designer of the month
Mats Theselius

Mats Theselius has designed iconic, limited edition armchairs for a.o. Källemo since the mid 1980’s. His designs are sought after on the vintage market and are represented at a.o. the Museum of Furniture Studies in Stockholm.

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