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An interview with Dan and Paul Johanson of Johanson Design:

'The designers we work with are truly a part of our team'

Founded in 1953 as an upholstery workshop by Börje Johansson, Johanson Design has evolved into a globally acclaimed brand known for its Scandinavian design ethos and impeccable craftsmanship. Today, under the leadership of Dan and Paul Johanson, the Swedish company partners with Europe's top designers, while prioritising environmental sustainability and maintaining a strong presence in key global markets. In this interview, we delve into the origins of Johanson Design, its collaborative approach to design, commitment to sustainability, and recent highlights from the Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Left: Dan and Paul Johanson. Right: the Sketch Collection.

Can you tell us more about the origins of Johanson Design and how it evolved into the internationally recognised brand it is today?
'Johanson Design was founded by our father, Börje Johansson, in 1953 as an upholstery workshop. Through the years, we have reached an international audience by focusing on Scandinavian design and sterling furniture craftsmanship. In 1992, we started working on developing the brand and working with designers in order to get a more edgy and to work on a broader portfolio at the same time. With long-term thinking, quality and design as our core values, we focus a lot on customer care.'

Could you elaborate on the collaborative process between Johanson Design and Europe's leading furniture designers? How does this partnership influence your product development?
'We want to have a long-term relationships with the designers we work with. They become a part of Johanson and are involved in the entire design process and also participate greatly in customer meetings trough fairs and lectures. In that way we build trust and confidence between the brand and the designers. They are truly a part of our team.'

Environmental sustainability is a core value for Johanson Design. Can you outline some of the measures and certifications the company has implemented to uphold these standards?
'Johanson Design is actively committed to crafting furniture that is not only durable and robust but also easy to recycle. Here's how we achieve this:

1. Möbelfakta Certification: We collaborate closely with our designers to adhere to Möbelfakta's stringent environmental standards. This Swedish class 1 certification encompasses quality, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.

2. Environmental Product Declaration (EPD): We are embarking on our EPD journey, aiming to produce 12 EPDs annually. These declarations enable our customers to easily assess and compare the environmental impact of their purchases, assisting them in complying with the climate reporting requirements set forth by the EU's CSRD directive.

3. EU Ecolabel Certification: Johanson Design holds the distinction of being the first in the world to obtain the EU Ecolabel certification for our Pelican chair. This certification mandates the use of sustainable materials and a certain level of recycled content in our products. Currently, we are pursuing our second certification for our new Plus chair.

4. Education and Training: We place significant emphasis on educating our employees and sales representatives about our sustainability initiatives. Through in-house training sessions, we provide insights into EPDs, Möbelfakta standards, and our overall environmental strategy.

By integrating these practices into our operations, Johanson Design is dedicated to creating furniture that not only meets high-quality standards but also contributes to a more sustainable future.'

The stand at Stockholm Furniture Fair, designed by Taklan, with on the left the Sketch and the Champ, on the right the Plus chair.

As an international company, what are some of the key markets where Johanson Design's Scandinavian designs are most sought after, and how do you maintain a global presence?
'Our key markets are mostly the European countries as Germany, the UK, Holland and Norway and more, but we're also present in the US and Asia. In all key countries we have agents that are responsible for the sales work. We exhibit in a lot of international fairs as well.'

You recently attended the Stockholm Furniture Fair. What products did you show there? Were they well received?
'Yes, the response was fantastic! Thanks to the extraordinary look the popular interior designer Teklan (Tekla Evelina Severin) gave our stand and all the products. They were all their own heroes and at the same time they so clearly belonged to the brand of Johanson. It was great fair for us.

We showed several products. The Plus, a stackable chair with a strong identity manufactured from recycled plastic, designed by Alexander Lervik. Böttcher & Kayser designed the Ava sofa, Champ and Opus chair. The new Ava sofa series has been specially designed to meet the ever-increasing demand for and interest in furnishings that lend a cosier, more domestic feel to public spaces. The key to success here lies in combining comfort and convenience with a high content of design – a specification that Ava meets in all respects. The Champ concept comprises a padded stool and a small matching table. The two pieces take their inspiration from the same design idea – ideal companions that together form the perfect pair. Lastly, the Opus is a stylish and comfortable chair available with a high or low back and the option to choose with or without armrests. The design is characterised by a flowing and clear line, defined soft contours, a seat shell with an iconic shape and a well-coordinated back curve that gives the furniture a clear and modern character.

Designed by Färg & Blanche were the Sketch and Lindy table. The Sketch (formerly called The Thread) is a series of sofas where Färg & Blanche have experimented with a carpet overlock machine in order to create stand-out design features. At the same time they have pioneered new construction techniques.'

Left: the Lindy tables. Right: the Ava sofa.

More information:
Johanson Design
+46 (0) 433 725 00