Jonas Bohlin


The chair Vilda is the result of a 40 year long love story between Jonas Bohlin and bent wood, a love affair that for a long time seemed to stay on a platonic level.

"As a student at Konstfack [the largest university of design, arts and crafts in Sweden] I visited Gemla and was immediately fascinated of how such a brutal craft could create such delicate furniture. It took some years until it was time for me to give the technique a try, but for various reasons no product came out of it. When designing a new piece of furniture, I always ask myself if this item really is needed and what it would mean from an ecological perspective if it were to end up in production. It must have a shape and construction that is durable year after year.
Just like the classic Thonet café chair. It is only then that the product is sustainable. A while ago the thought was brought to life again, and with the help of some chair parts I kept from my last visit at Gemla, I built a prototype. I removed all unnecessary parts and added some leather from Tärnsjö to create a dialogue between two materials. Then I packed it all in a box and sent it to Gemla with a note saying “call me!” You can say that my love was returned and Vilda was finally created. Style-wise Vilda is about as far as you can get from my first chair Concrete, but the desire to create has remained exactly the same."


Photo: Fabian Svensson

Mats Theselius


Most Swedish designers have a relationship with bent wood. Mats Theselius’ relationship, however, is a little more handson than usual. As a newly graduated student from Konstfack [the largest university of design, arts and crafts in Sweden], he boiled wood at home in his kitchen to bend it into a prototype of his first aluminium armchair.

"All designers have tried bent wood, from Josef Hofmann, Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe to Peter Celsing and
Uno Åhrén. The whole world is filled with old bent wood chairs.
I remember one trip to Egypt in the early 80s; wherever we went, there were the classic café chairs made out of bent
wood, blasted by the desert sands for maybe a hundred years, beautifully worn and still in good condition. Totally durable and long-lasting furniture. Naturally I also wanted to give this technique a try. The craftsmanship is pretty special. At one point I was worried that Gemla and bent wood wasn’t an option any more, that it wasn’t possible to make and sell furniture crafted out of bent wood in Sweden. That’s why it feels good to try and prove the opposite with my new armchair."


Photo: Knut Koivisto



"The starting point for Front’s work is neither the shape nor function but rather the willingness to tell a story, where the final result hints at a tale of the factories, machines and the people. Of time and place."

Gemla is the last remaining company in Sweden to master the art of creating furniture out of solid bent wood. That’s why it is both fun and exciting for us to be a part of its future. At the factory in Diö over 150 years of craftsmanship has been well preserved, by keeping the thousands of moulds and forms that have been used over the years. We saw an opportunity to communicate this story by re-using some of the old moulds.
By putting together these shapes and forms in a new way, and adding new materials it should be evident that it is a Gemla chair, with all of its characteristics, but made for today."


Photo: Jens Nordström

Lisa Hilland


“High touch” meets “High Tech”. Traditional bent wood production meets 3D-rendering and printing of three-dimensional models in full scale. At the intersection new shapes and new forms are born, signed Lisa Hilland.

"I want to find a balance between muscle strength and mechanical strength; between traditional craftsmanship and
modern manufacturing so that people can afford to buy and afford to use my furniture. At the same time it must be both
economically and ethically justifiable to produce. I have always liked Gemla’s furniture and thought long about what I could do together with them. They have a cultural heritage in both architecture, design and craftsmanship. They are also a role model when it comes to long-term durability. Furniture that ages well, and can be handed down from generation to generation.
My challenge has been to design a chair that is a bit more contemporary by pushing the limit of bent wood and its stamina, both in appearance and manufacturing method. To get the most out of the form and functionality as possible, with as little material as possible."