The Eva Chair by Bruno Mathsson June 01 2016
One of Sweden's most internationally known designers of the 20th Century, Bruno Mathsson (1907-1988) was born to cabinet making. His father, Karl Mathsson was the fifth generation in a family of master cabinet makers. It was natural that Bruno should follow in his these footsteps and from an early age he was taught the necessary skills acquiring a strong feeling for the characteristics of wood as well as a solid technical knowledge.
With a nod to his Finish forefather Alvar Aalto, Mathsson was interested in ergonomics and organic form and experimented with curves and height. Aalto, Mathsson and the other Scandinavian designers of the era approached Modernism in a softer, warmer and less austere manner than their French and German counterparts. They were less focussed on the machine aesthetic and instead favoured wood over tubular steel. This resulted in a more ‘palatable’, naturalistic strand of Modernism that enjoyed global popularity.
Mathsson focussed much of his studies on the "mechanics of sitting" and he carried out trials to decide the precise blueprint which a person created whilst reclining. For example, in search of the perfect seating curve he sat in a snow-drift to study the imprint his body had made.
In 1937 Bruno Mathsson exhibited a collection of his bentwood furniture, including the Eva Chair, at the world exhibition Paris Expo winning a Grand Prix for his bed "Paris ". During Paris Expo, his furniture was appreciated and admired by an international audience gaining interest from all over the world. This included the manager for the design department of Museum of Modern Art in New York, Edgar Kaufmann Jnr. who two years later, in 1939, ordered chairs by Bruno Mathsson for a new extension of the museum. The Eva Chair, (which was then called the Work Chair) designed in 1934 for Firma Karl Mathsson, was purchased for the public spaces of the MOMA.