My Favorites from The Salon: Art + Design
As creative director for the furniture division of the exclusive Nordiska Kompaniet department store (1929-1938), Axel Einar Hjorth (1888-1959) demonstrated a remarkable dexterity at working in numerous historical and contemporary styles with consistent originality, elegance and wit. This sleek side/coffee table was introduces as part of his Typenko collection of 1931, an unapologetically glamorous reaction to the dominance of Functionalism (the Swedish variant of International Modernism) at the Stockholm Exhibition of the previous year.
The sophisticated table is essentially a simple pedestal type to which Hjorth applied nuances of proportion and materials to extraordinary result. The top and pedestal are birch stained a rich brown calibrated in depth to unify its overall appearance while still allowing the graining (spiral cut on the top) to come though, imbuing the birch with an exotic and luxurious sensibility. More urbane than utilitarian, the steel disk base in turn draws warmed from the wood and provides it with a dazzling counterpart. The top of this particular iteration of the model features a rare, perhaps custom, variation in its use of pinwheel quarters of veneer on the top. (The model was more commonly finished with a single, less figured piece of veneer.)
Signature: Crafted in Nordiska Kompaniet’s renowned workshop, the table bears its metal tag numbered "RS611061235."
Image rights: BAC
Manufacturer: Nordiska Kompaniet
Björk, Ekström and Erikson, Axel Einar Hjorth: Möbelarkitekt, Stockholm, Signum 2009, pg. 123
Swedish architect and furniture designer Axel Einar Hjorth was greatly inspired by the French Art Deco movement. He often used fine and expensive materials to craft sleek furnishings, such as tables, cabinets, chairs, and sofas in woods such as oak, birch, and rosewood. His designs are characterized by the free play of classical themes, a design ethos later adopted by a younger generation of architects and designers and absorbed into aspects of Modernism in Sweden. Creating designs for a variety of Swedish furniture manufacturers, including the Stockholm department store Nordiska Kompanient, Hjorth contributed to the burgeoning Swedish design culture and the international recognition it began to receive in the 1920s.
Swedish, 1888-1959, based in Stockholm, Sweden