Schrijf je in voor onze dagelijkse nieuwsbrief om al het laatste nieuws direct per e-mail te ontvangen!

Inschrijven Ik ben al ingeschreven

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
An interview with Dag Klockby, Chairman of the Board at Gärsnäs

'Design has almost become a global language and borders have become less obvious'

Gärsnäs, a family-owned furniture factory nestled in the picturesque village of Gärsnäs in Österlen, Sweden, has been crafting furniture since 1893. Over its rich history, the company has evolved into a modern furniture manufacturer. In a recent interview with Dag Klockby, former CEO and Chairman of the Board at Gärsnäs, we delved into the company's fascinating history, the designs by his father in law Åke Axelsson and the company's recent participation at Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Left: Dag Klockby, former CEO and Chairman of the Board at Gärsnäs. Right: The Vyn Collection, photo by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen.

A legacy of craftsmanship
'We have a long history, celebrating 131 years this year,' Dag says. What started as a family-owned company with handmade furniture pieces, gradually evolved into a modern furniture manufacturer, combining modern technology with traditional craftsmanship. In the 60s, Dag's father in law, renowned interior architect and furniture maker Åke Axelsson, started to collaborate with Gärsnäs and he created many furniture pieces for them over the years. With Åke, Dag and his wife Anna (see picture below) started their own company in the 80s and later on they had the opportunity to join forces with Gärsnäs. 'Now we had all of Åke's designs under one roof. Since 2003 we're the sole owners of Gärsnäs,' Dag explains.

'Today we have a number of collaborations with interesting new designers, but the designs of Åke Axelsson are still the biggest part of the Gärsnäs collection. He's 92 years old now, but still quite active,' Dag says. Åke even had an exhibition during Stockholm Design Week last February at the Gallery Sebastian Schildt where he showed nine decades of craftsmanship and interiors. 'He experiments a lot and is still very curious,' Dag says. 'In the 70s he went back to the earliest pieces of furniture you could find in Egypt and Greece, going back thousands of years. He studied the elements of the earliest chairs and reconstructed them and still uses this knowledge in constructions today. He has a big house outside of Stockholm where he has machines, so he can really create and experiment. It's fascinating visiting his studio. You can see several chairs hanging from the walls. It's like a treasure trove.'

The last big project Åke did with Dag was for the head office of the United Nations in Manhatten last year. They were asked to replace the chairs in the ECOSOC chamber, the room for the economic and social council at the UN. The old chairs came from 1950 and needed to be replaced. Åke designed a new version of that new chair, called Zen New York. 'I visited the opening last September. Åke wasn't there, but there was a video of an interview with him in the room and some people even got tears in their eyes. He is such an iconic personality,' Dag says proudly.

The Zen New York chair, designed for the United Nations ECOSOC chamber.

Stockholm Furniture Fair
The Zen New York chair designed for the UN was also on show at the Stockholm Furniture Fair last month. At the fair Gärsnäs unveiled several innovative collaborations and product launches. Among which their collaboration with the Swedish chef Daniel Berlin. 'He has a wonderful restaurant close to the sea, just ten minutes from our factory. He always picks food from the landscape around him and wanted to do the same with the furniture. We developed a whole new concept for the restaurant.' Four new products were made for the restaurant, designed by Anton Björsing: the Vyn armchair, Vyn easychair and the Simris sofa and easy chair.

Scandinavian design
Gärsnäs is influenced greatly by the tradition of Scandinavian design, in particular Swedish design traditions. 'It's very important to stress functionality and simplicity. But this is difficult. Simplicity can be very obvious, so it needs to perfect in every detail. But honest materials and sustainability have also always been very important to us,' Dag explains. 'We have always been focused on producing furniture with a high quality. This is in the DNA of Gärsnäs. We want to make furniture with a long life length and try to make furniture with materials that are easy to separate for later renovation.'

The Vyn Collection, photos by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen.

On the other hand the brand is also influenced internationally. 'Design has almost become a global language and borders have become less obvious,' Dag explains. The company's main market is Scandinavia, but also does business in other European countries, in the US and even Japan.

Discussing the challenges facing Gärsnäs in today's furniture market, Dag acknowledges the impact of global events such as the pandemic and economic uncertainties. 'The last years have been a roller coaster ride. We have had the pandemic, war and negative economic influences. We have felt the tough market, but we still did fantastic and interesting projects and increasing interest for our brand.' Rooted in Scandinavian craftsmanship and driven by a commitment to quality and sustainability, Gärsnäs continues their journey into the future.

More information:
Malmövägen 16 – 18
272 61 Gärsnäs, Sweden
+46 414 530 00
[email protected]