Kinnarps Materia

Press release

Kinnarps acquires design furniture company Materia and forms the Kinnarps Design Group

Kinnarps makes strategic moves
— with an international focus

"Scandinavia’s largest interior design group is laying the foundation for an expansive, international-oriented growth. Kinnarps has worked intensely the past year to develop a business structure and strong collection that will support our vision of becoming a vital international interior design group with customers around the world.

The Kinnarps Group, owned by the Jarlsson family, reported a turnover of over SEK 2 billion in 2002/2003. Despite the current economic downturn, Kinnarps has strengthened its market position and is today ranked as one of three largest companies within the European office furniture sector.

"The grim, long-term financial situation demands a new approach and structural changes. Our strategy means that the entire organisation is fully focused on satisfying our customers’ requirements for an interior design concept that encompasses the entire workplace’s furniture and furnishing needs. Decisions and changes now being made are absolutely imperative if we are to sustain a market-leading position in a more competitive Europe. Further steps will be taken towards this objective," says Rolf Gustafson, Deputy Managing Director of Kinnarps.

100 interior design houses in Europe — future knowledge centres in design and furnishings for public spaces

Kinnarps currently operates throughout Europe and large parts of the rest of the world. During the past five years, Kinnarps has invested in establishing strategically placed showrooms around Europe. This sales and distribution network gives us the resources to successfully market Kinnarps’ interior design concept.

Kinnarps has long held the position of market leader in the Scandinavian market for office furniture — desks, chairs and storage systems. The new business strategy means that we will now adopt a comprehensive approach and offer our customers all-inclusive interior solutions. By forcefully investing in our collection, identity and communication, Kinnarps 100 interior design houses in Europe will become leading knowledge centres in design and furnishings for public spaces. Scandinavian expertise in design, ergonomics and workplace psychology is the platform for our development efforts. This incentive creates the conditions required for continuous growth.

"Our houses will inspire our customers and show them how interior decorating can advance and enhance their company profile — their corporate image," explains Birgitta Skoglund, Sales Director at Kinnarps.

"We dealers feel very positive about this collection profiling. It enables us to adopt an all-inclusive thinking when dealing with future customers," notes Ola Björklund, Chairman of the Kinnarps Association of Dealers (KÅFI).

Kinnarps acquires brand with strong profile — Materia

Kinnarps has acquired the design furniture company, Materia — one of the industry’s most noted and expansive brands characterised by a sound profile. Design conscious companies throughout Scandinavia and the rest of Europe can boast ownership of Materia’s expressive and functional conference furniture.

The acquisition of Materia gives Kinnarps a strong brand and essential cutting-edge competence within the areas of design and communication.

"This is a strategic acquisition. Materia is one of the most dynamic companies in the furniture industry. It has its own sound profile, an excellent repute on the market and is financially well managed — one of the few design companies to demonstrate both a capacity for growth and profitability," says Henry Jarlsson, Managing Director and owner of Kinnarps.

Materia’s success is accredited to design management

With a distinct and consistently executed design management, Materia’s founders — architects SIR/MSA and industrial designers SID Kersti Sandin and Lars Bülow — have in a brief time established a business that has warranted attention both in Sweden and internationally. Design and architecture are Materia’s cornerstones and permeate the entire business — from working environments to products and communication.

Lars Bülow
"We do not consider design and architecture an expense but a strategically important investment that augments the brand and generates sustainable growth and profitability. Design is a steering tool that develops businesses. With Kinnarps as Materia’s owner, we gain access to new, expansive market channels in Europe and a stable, professional platform for lasting dynamic growth," says Lars Bülow, Managing Director and founder of Materia.

Kinnarps Design Group

Materia is the substructure of Kinnarps Design Group — design intense companies with product ranges that enhance and complement Kinnarps’ office furniture. Kinnarps Design Group creates a platform for public space furniture companies with dynamic profiles. The Group will consist of independent brands that collaborate but also each retain and develop their own specialities, cultures and identities.

"In addition to our acquisition of Materia, we own 49% of the shares in Klaessons Möbler as of last autumn and we plan to bind several strong design companies to the Group. The new collection complements Kinnarps’ office furniture and enables us to offer business customers and public administration a sound all-inclusive concept," says Per-Arne Andersson, Director of Finance at Kinnarps.

Famous architects appointed key roles in Kinnarps’ organisation

Architects and industrial designers Kersti Sandin and Lars Bülow, founders of the design furniture company Materia, will join Kinnarps in conjunction with the acquisition. Together with current Design Manager Rune Karlsson, they will be in charge of the Group’s entire collection, design and identity issues. Design management will be elevated to senior management level. Sandin-Bülow will head the establishment and development of products and brands within Kinnarps Design Group and manage the cutting-edge profiling for some 100 interior design houses in Europe.

Kinnarps brings Swedish furniture design to Europe

Kersti Sandin"This is one of the most interesting assignments in the design and interior decorating industry. It is a thrilling challenge for me to develop our design management expertise full scale. Kinnarps is Scandinavia’s largest interior design group and has an enormous impact. We now have the chance to bring Scandinavian furniture design and interior decorating culture to Europe," says Kersti Sandin, soon-to-be Design Manager at Kinnarps.

Kersti Sandin has long managed several strategic assignments within the sectors of architecture, design and culture. Among other positions, Kersti is a board member of the Swedish Association of Architects, the Foundation for Swedish Industrial Design and Svenskt Tenn and a member of the government-appointed group for The 2005 Year of Design, Designårsgrupp för tillväxt och innovation.

For further information please contact:
Henry Jarlsson, Managing Director Kinnarps +46 (0)706-385004
Rolf Gustafson, Deputy Managing Director Kinnarps +46 (0)706-385450
Lars Bülow, Managing Director Materia +46 (0)705-385605
Kersti Sandin, Creative Director Materia +46 (0)70-606 20 68

Information about the companies is available at: