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Carl Malmsten

Swedish, 1888-1972

Carl Malmsten, a prominent furniture designer and educator associated with Swedish modernism, enjoyed immense popularity for his shapely sofas and armchairs in luscious color palettes. Malmsten believed that light — much like our eyes and bodies — doesn’t like to bump into sharp objects. Smooth edges, on the other hand, are kinder to the eye and and to our touch, and allow light to softly bounce off surfaces. Malmsten felt that if his furniture didn’t “serve well” in the home, it had no business being there.

Malmsten’s career essentially began in 1915, when his submissions for a competition to furnish the new Stockholm City Hall were first- and second-place prize winners. In the 1920s, his profile soared. He won a prize at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts — the show that brought the Art Deco style to worldwide attention — and quickly became one of the most sought-after designers of commercial seating in Sweden.

Malmsten was soon contracted to design chairs, tables and other furniture for the Stockholm Concert Hall, the Swedish Institute in Rome and the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. His famous Art Nouveau-influenced Stadshusstolen chair, designed for Stockholm City Hall in 1916, is a highlight of the city’s recently opened Museum of Furniture Studies. Malmsten expanded into interior design and created a luxurious, well-appointed living room in the palace of then-Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and his bride, Crown Princess Louise.

In the 1930s, Malmsten clashed with critics when he voiced his opposition to functionalism. Like Danish modernist Kaare Klint, he favored using quality local materials and prized traditional craftsmanship. Malmsten’s furniture draws on graceful neoclassical influences, and he said that extreme functionalism contributed to “sterile” interiors — while the curving contours of his work may share ground with furniture designed by Alvar Aalto or Bruno Mathsson, Malmsten differed with Bauhaus eminences and some Scandinavian modernists on their prioritization of functionalism.

For an exhibition in 1956 at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Malmsten designed furniture that was intended for mass production — and his striking designs began to make their way into middle-class Swedish homes. Until then, he had built his pieces at the school he founded in the 1930s or had them made by artisans at several small local workshops.

Malmsten founded a number of schools for design and collaborated with other designers who shared his philosophy of “hand and mind in creative collaboration.” These included the esteemed textile artist Märta Måås Fjetterström, whose pieces he included in exhibits and even his own home.

On 1stDibs, find vintage Carl Malmsten seating, tables, cabinets and more.

Average Sold Price
$4,915
Styles
Materials
1960's Swedish Design by Carl Malmsten Brigitta Dressing Table and Chair
By Bodafors, Carl Malmsten, Yngve Ekström
Located in Tourcoing, FR
1960's Swedish Design Brigitta set composed of a wooden dressing table design by Carl Malmsten with its matching wooden and bouclé fabric chair design by Carl Malmsten and Yngve Ekst...
Category

1960s Swedish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Wood, Fabric

Swedish Modern Rectangular Stool in Solid Pine by Carl Malmsten, 1950s
By Carl Malmsten
Located in Odense, DK
An early work by Swedish Deisgner Carl Malmsten. A rare wooden brutalist stool with a great warm patina. Made in the early 50s. Signed underneath.
Category

1950s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Pine

Carl Malmsten Set of Ten Armchairs in Walnut and Black Leather
By Carl Malmsten
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Carl Malmsten, armchairs, walnut, leather, Sweden, 1940s. Rare set of armchairs designed by Swedish designer Carl Malmsten. These chairs contain a warm walnut frame which is nice...
Category

1940s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Leather, Walnut

Carl Malmsten High Back Chair in Walnut and Black Leather
By Carl Malmsten
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Carl Malmsten, high back chair, walnut, brass, leather, Sweden, 1940s. Rare high back chair designed by Swedish designer Carl Malmsten. This chair exhibits a warm walnut frame wh...
Category

1940s Swedish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Leather, Walnut

Carl Malmsten for Svensk Fur Set of Four 'Sörgården' Dining Chairs in Solid Pine
By Svensk Fur, Carl Malmsten
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Carl Malmsten for Svensk Fur, dining chairs model 'Sörgården', pine, Sweden, 1950s This set of four dining chairs designed by Malmsten and manufactured by Svensk Fur combines comf...
Category

1950s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Pine

Pair of "Spoon" Side Chairs by Carl Malmsten, Sweden, 1930s
By Carl Malmsten
Located in Stockholm, SE
Pair of “Skedblad” dining or side chairs by Carl Malmsten, made from teak. Designed in 1931. Clean form with rustic woodgrain.
Category

1930s Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Pine

Carl Malmsten Sofa Model Berlin Produced by Carl Malmsten in Sweden
By Carl Malmsten
Located in Malmo, SE
Rare and large version of the sofa model Berlin designed by Carl Malmsten. Produced by Carl Malmsten in Sweden.
Category

1960s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Linen, Mahogany

Carl Malmsten 'Berg' Three Legged Side Table in Masur Birch, Sweden, 1950s
By Carl Malmsten
Located in The Hague, NL
This elegant side table was designed by Carl Malmsten in 1936 as part of his 'Berg' series of three-legged tables. This example was produced by Carl Malmsten in the early 1950s. The ...
Category

1950s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Carl Malmsten

Materials

Birch

Browse all Furniture from Carl Malmsten
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Carl Malmsten Sellers

Carl Malmsten furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Carl Malmsten's furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of Carl Malmsten furniture there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock of these items we have 140 vintage editions, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many of the original furniture by Carl Malmsten was created in Scandinavian Modern style during the 20th century in Scandinavia. Many customers also consider furniture by Folke Ohlsson, Yngve Ekström and Norway Kompaniet (NK). The prices for Carl Malmsten furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $NaN on 1stDibs and tops at $NaN, while pieces like these can sell for $NaN on average.

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