The Swedish logger, engineer, and industrial designer
Björn Alge - The Swedish logger, engineer, and industrial designer
Learn more about Björn Alge, a visionary in Swedish industrial design and furniture craftsmanship. From his beginnings as a building engineer to his transformation into an influential designer, Alge's journey is a testament to innovation and artistic mastery.
Björn Alge (1943-1999) had a background as a building engineer before studying industrial design at Konstfack- University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. After graduating in 1982, Alge devoted most of his work to furniture design and managed to create several notable chairs during the 1980s and 1990s. Alge's background as a building engineer is clearly visible in his debut chair, "Frame", from 1982, which was also a part of his degree project at Konstfack. Here, Alge used his experience of building sturdy and, at the same time, light constructions in wood. In addition to lightness and strength, the open form of the legs of the chair also gives a graphically distinctive expression and identity. The Frame chair was launched by the Swedish Design company in 1983 but, unfortunately, was produced only for a short period.
In 1984 Alge was spotted by the company Lindlöfs Interiör in Lammhult, which started a successful cooperation. For Lindlöfs Alge designed the chair “Yran” in 1985, which came to be one of his most acknowledged designs. Yran was a merge of the two chairs that Alge admired the most- the four-legged Ant Chair (Myran) by Arne Jacobsen in 1952 and Hans J Wegner’s Wishbone Chair (Y-stolen) from 1949. The Yran chair shows an interesting example of how a pronounced inspiration can result in something new, independent, and absolutely relevant.
For several years in the late 1980s, Alge collaborated with the aluminum die-casting company Byarums Bruk, resulting in the "Dover" Chair, among others. However, Alge’s significant commercial breakthrough came when he started working with the office furniture company Kinnarps. His office task chair series 6-8000 were produced by the thousands daily in the late 1990s.
Besides designing furniture, Alge became one of Sweden’s most influential industrial designers. He was a partner in the company Landqvist & Sjöholm and later started his own studio under the name Myra Industrial Design. As chairman of the Swedish Industrial Designers between 1987-89, Alge worked for better work ethics in the design industry. In 1998, he played a part in the foundation of the Swedish Industrial Design Academy that worked: "to give attention, encouragement and support the evolution of industrial design in Sweden in the fields of education and research within the theoretical as well as the practical side of the profession.” His interest in education also brought him to the board of education at Konstfack in the Department of Industrial Design.
Read more about Björn Alge here
MDM Talks #10: We talked with the designer, Adrian Bursell. In 2020, Adrian graduated from Konstfack. For his graduation project, Sticks & Stones: Souvenirs from Öland, he designed a side table called "Lilla Alvaret".