Grand Award for Åke Axelsson

Hurray! Åke Axelsson has received the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry’s (TMF) Nova Honorary Award.

“We want to cheer Åke’s fantastic accomplishments as an interior architect and furniture designer through the years,” says Cecilia Ask Engström, Director Industrial Development at TMF.

“It is both an honour and a surprise. I’m glad the award covers both the interiors and the furniture. My mantra is that they go intimately together. That unity in the work is my speciality and maybe I’ve also become slightly unique in that way,” says Åke, who designed his first chair for Gärsnäs back in 1963, the small S 217, which was developed through a competition to draw attention to the endangered beech forests of southern Sweden. The chair became a bestseller for Gärsnäs and can still be ordered today. That is sustainability.

TMF’s award citation states: “Åke always has functionality in mind when he creates a new model; it must be something that is needed and works well, both in the home and society. Åke was already thinking about sustainability several decades before it became a keyword and a vital operating procedure for the industry.”

The award celebrates long and faithful service to the craft of intelligent furniture design with a focus on sustainability. Even in the early 1970s, he was already designing resource-efficient, ecological furniture that could be made simply and quickly. His Ararat series of chairs and benches was exhibited in the ground-breaking ecological exhibition “Ararat” at Moderna Museet in 1976. After 2003, Åke, his daughter Anna Klockby and her husband Dag Klockby took over Gärsnäs, and he designed many bestselling chairs, which helped the company get on its feet.

In his workshop, Åke Axelsson works the wood and develops his ideas. Several years ago, he took up production of the Ararat series again, improved and updated, along with the Nomad family of chairs and tables, which are as sensible as they are handsome. Even now, after more than 60 years of making furniture, Åke Axelsson remains inquisitive. “There is always something to do. I have some chairs left in me.”