Bruno Mathsson Fallbord – Extraordinary Design

Bruno Mathsson is a famous furniture designer known for his chairs and architectural elements. Examples of these include its glasshouses, which were very well insulated. In addition, he designed desks, cots and computer tables. Bruno Mathsson’s Fällbord table, which has an elegant and refined appearance as well as being incredibly usable, is one of the best designs by Mathsson.

It was natural that a young Mathsson would grow up to work mainly with wood, because the Mathson family hadn’t done anything else for five generations before him. As a child, his chores worked in the family’s furniture and carpentry shop, and he had practical experience with techniques, tools and woods throughout his life.

Bruno Mathsson
Bruno Mathsson

To get more skills and knowledge, especially in the technical and engineering aspects, not easily available in his small city of Varnamo, Mathsson sent books and consulted experts. Not only did he acquire the knowledge and skills, but he also created a network of mentors who helped him later. Her formal education was supported in part by the design awards she earned for her furniture.

While producing different types of furniture, comfort and beauty were common themes for each type. Furthermore, he designed his pieces thinking of innovation; acknowledged that people appreciate flexibility in arranging furniture. The modular style of his pieces increased their popularity thanks to the ease with which the pieces could be used to create unique spaces and moods.

Bruno Mathsson’s Fällbord table is such a versatile piece. In Swedish, fällbord simply means “folding table”, but in reality it is much more. It was produced for the first time in 1935, with the main parts of the birch support stand. The table top was made of birch and with a white laminate surface and models in oak, beech, cherry, oak, ash and other woods.

The Mathsson table folds into a small 23 cm bundle when it is completely collapsed and expands to a 280 cm long table when it is fully extended. It can be organized with a fallen leaf at one or both ends and can serve as a small writing desk in a corner of the cafe or expand into a banquet table with almost any size possible. For those who are not used to metric measurements, this is a range from a little over 9 inches to about 110 1/4 inches.

In Swedish country houses it was popular to use folding tables in crowded spaces to allow for greater flexibility. Bruno Mathsson most likely based his famous Fällbord table on these folding tables from his homeland. However, his designs have their own personality with pure lines and constructions. In the 1960s, Mathsson began using more modern materials in his furniture designs, such as metal pipes and synthetic materials. Even so, the elegant Fällbord table and other wooden designs continue to be considered his best work.

by Richard Guilfoyle

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