Gärsnäs is a brand that has been around for 127 years and still manages to bring innovation to the table.
The Swedish brand mixes high technology with meticulous craftsmanship and sustainable materials – like responsibly produced leather and hardwood from local forests. The result is long lasting iconic goods that never go out of style.
Even though it is a big problem for Gärsnäs to keep up with growing technology, nothing beats the human touch. It’s the skilled hands of the designers and collaborators that bring the brand’s character to life.
“Curious and sustainable” is the powerful statement of Gärsnäs. It is both the future and the past. How does it feel to create furniture, sustainable furniture, for so long?
We are proud to be a part of Gärsnäs history: that goes long back to 1893. We benefit and take advantage of knowledge and craft, experience and tradition while moving forward and creating new designs for the future.
Gärsnäs works with an extensive team of designers. You believe in genuine human craftsmanship. Could you describe this union process between creating with hands and also with extreme computer technology? What does it represent?
We are merging high technology with craftsmanship in the process of manufacturing furniture. The latest technology provides us with the efficiency and precision needed and also brings innovation to the developing process, where the technology allows us to produce in large-scale. The crafting embodies the handmade and the human touch, which are essential for the final result: it’s in our DNA and represents what the brand is all about. The object of design is worth nothing if it’s poorly made, it’s always better to make it simple, but well crafted.
How is this material seen, inserted, and thought within Gärsnäs?
Fact: Earth’s resources are burdened beyond the limit and we have found a quote on the Gärsnäs website that goes, “Our environmental requirements are very high regarding incoming material and processes. We seek the best methods and materials available from an environmental perspective.” So, still talking about materials: leather in furniture.
We love leather for many reasons: it’s durable, sustainable, and natural. We try to use mainly responsibly produced leather for upholstery and we mostly make the leather a part of the construction. Like in the Madonna and Hedda chairs, as well as in Hedwig, Ferdinand and Dandy easy chairs.
Leather can be treated and restored for being a long life material. It grows more beautifully and gracefully when it’s well taken care of.
Gärsnäs has a reuse system that is about the renovated, reupholstered, repainted furniture processes for the very same furniture. It is a responsibility for sustainability. It’s the Gärsnäs feeling, as you call it.
What does that mean to you? This feeling.
The Gärsnäs feeling is something immaterial yet worth mentioning; it correlates to our core values when it comes to our designs, which are solidness, thoughtfulness, and awareness. It is also about trust and faith. It represents high moral standards when we as furniture producers interact with a global market trying our best to achieve the environmental goals.
After the Second World War, the company adopted the modern Scandinavian style and started to produce not only furniture for homes, but it also increased its production for the public space. So, could you describe your creation process for, after such a long time as a brand, continuing to create with this unique style?
For us, furniture design is a matter of finding solutions for people interacting and socializing in different situations regardless if it’s about residential or public spaces. We try to add value to existing archetypes, a chair is a chair, but perhaps we can make it lighter and more durable and friendlier to the environment by reducing the amount of material. We can be innovative working with different techniques, and we focus on functionality when we develop furniture for office spaces, hospitality, education/universities, churches, libraries or residential areas.
Form follows function, which means we do not underestimate the value of aesthetics, but we collaborate with a number of skillful designers in order to create pieces of furniture with aesthetic value, which includes: material, techniques, colors, and more. For us, individual expression is highly important and we are constantly working with our heritage sprung from the Scandinavian tradition, which means furniture of high quality, mainly in wood, beautifully constructed and with emphasis on functionality. Materials are mainly wood coming from nearby locations in Scandinavia and Europe, as well as upholstery in fabric and leather.
We would like to talk about the classic Ferdinand. It is an armchair that has everything: comfort, practicality & its leather is vegetable tanned. A modern icon designed by Åke Axelsson. Do you believe that this chair is the design, the piece, the idea that represents the most profound originality of Gärsnäs?
Ferdinand is unique, because we have followed Mr Åke Axelsson since the 1970s, when he studied the ancient chairs and plenty of other historical chairs from ancient times. Ferdinand is inspired by these studies and is fulfilling all aspects of a sustainable chair. Nobody but Åke Axelsson, who has brilliant knowledge and craftsmanship, could make this happen.
What’s your favorite chair in Gärsnäs' line ever?
My favorite chair ever is always the latest one, perhaps the Petite chair is my favorite.
We look forward to the favorites that are yet to come. Bring it on, Gärsnäs.
Credits: Gärsnäs & Metcha