11 march 2023 – 10 march 2024
– Production at NK’s workshops was an important chapter in Swedish design history. We are now presenting this as a complete narrative for the first time, says exhibition curator Lena Landerberg.
AB Nordiska Kompaniet was founded in 1902. Two years later – in 1904 – the workshops in Nyköping opened, and this is where furniture production for NK took place. It continued until 1973, when operations ceased and the final workshop staff vacated the premises. Shortly thereafter the buildings were torn down.
– Barely any trace remains, says Lena. However, the actual furniture lives on and with it memories of the skilled artisans and renowned designers associated with Nordiska Kompaniet’s furniture workshops.
In a display area of 400 m2, Sörmland Museum will be showcasing more than 150 items of furniture, from exclusive pieces exhibited at World Expos in the 1920s and 1930s to the popular Triva range. The collection also includes some of Sweden’s most renowned furniture classics.
All the furniture in this exhibition was made in Nyköping. A third of the items come from Sörmland Museum’s own collection, while the other two thirds are on loan from institutions such as Stockholm Public Library and Stockholm City Hall, as well as several museums throughout Sweden. Fifteen of the pieces are on loan from private individuals.
– We got in touch with private collectors, who have loaned us some totally unique items of furniture, which in a number of cases have never been on public display before, says Lena.
Facts about NK’s workshops
AB Nordiska Kompaniet was founded in 1902. Two years later – in 1904 – the workshops in Nyköping opened, and this is where furniture production for NK took place.
The workforce expanded rapidly, and at their peak around 500 persons worked here. The workshops attracted skilled craftspeople – including carpenters, metalworkers, sculptors, polishers and gilders – from both Sweden and other countries. NK employed Sweden’s foremost architects and designers, such as Carl Bergsten, Axel Einar Hjorth, Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist, Carl Hörvik and Elias Svedberg.
The workshops produced light fittings, boats, aircraft, sledges and cars, but what was made here in the main was furniture and interior furnishings. Initially, these were expensive, ornate pieces for an exclusive target group, but later NK was the first in Sweden to offer self-assembly, flat-pack furniture. There were also many large and prestigious interior design projects – including Konserthuset Stockholm and several rooms at the City Hall in Stockholm.
In 1973, operations ceased at NK’s workshops in Nyköping.
NK 1957. Milano chair design by Elias Svedberg.
NK 1951. Stora Kraal design by Kerstin Hörlin-Homquist.
NK 1929. Mora design by Axel Einar Hjorth.
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Photo: Björn Dahlgren