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David Ericsson

Tell us about Madonna…

A few years ago, Christiansborg Castle in Denmark invited competition entries for a new chair to be used at state banquets there. The existing set of Chiavari chairs, popularly known as “the gold chair”, was getting worn out. Several entries were received, but none of them led to a commission. Then it struck me that if the great designer Hans J. Wegner had still been alive, he would unquestionably have come up with something.

As part of its big Hans J. Wegner centenary exhibition last year, the Art Museum of South Jutland, located in Tønder, Denmark, invited one designer from each of the Nordic countries to design an article of furniture representing our own time. I had the honour of representing Sweden, and I settled on designing the “new” official chair for Danish state banquets. Madonna was born.

Madonna is a light-weight beech chair of slender dimensions that flirts with the Italian Chiavari chair and the Swedish step stool. A step stool consist of slats in the back, legs and sides. Together they form a steady structure. All parts are equally important for holding the chair together. The thinner the input materials, the trickier furniture fabrication becomes. Stability and real durability demand high precision and tight joins.

What’s your favourite material?

I enjoy beech. It acquires a tremendously beautiful surface, especially when machined. I also appreciate red beech for its density and strength. I usually start with wood, but I enjoy finding other materials which can keep it company – friends together.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Life as such. My creative process always takes a long time, and I like to seek inspiration in Swedish, European and ancient furniture history. On the mental plane, I find myself working with several pieces of furniture at once. There are still a lot of things waiting to be done, and that’s a great feeling.

Is there a project of your dreams?

Being asked to create a church or a chapel. A place for leave-taking and a place for happiness. A place meant for the heaviest moments of all but also for the happy ones. I see an honourable challenge in addressing something which takes in the full gamut of emotions.