Karlee Hanson and Malmsten’s Philosophy

Carl Malmsten (1888–1972) was not well known in 1916 when he entered a contest to design the furniture for the Stockholm City Hall. The judging was anonymous and when he was chosen, some of the judges wanted to take the award back. His designs were so strong, he received the award and launched a successful career in furniture design. His designs were fresh, simple, and used organic forms and light colored woods. He designed a chair for the World’s Fair in Paris in 1937. He was interested in hands-on, active education and founded two schools, Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies in Stockholm and Capellagården on the island of Öland, both of which are still in operation. I think Carl Malmsten is interesting because he knew that traditional schooling doesn’t always work, especially for artists. It got my attention when he said that people learn with their hands. He said the best way to learn is to try something yourself first and then when you really can’t get it right, that’s when you ask for help. We met Carl Malmsten’s grandson, Jerk Malmsten, who runs the store, Marlmstenbutiken.


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