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Press Release: Scandinavian design legend in new exhibition in Copenhagen

New Danish exhibition celebrates the life and work of one of Sweden’s most significant furniture and interior designers, Åke Axelsson. The designer’s complete home and studio materialize in Copenhagen when Bygning A opens the exhibition ‘Welcome home, Åke!’ on 3 September 2020 at A. Petersen, Kløvermarksvej 70 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The exhibition ‘Welcome home, Åke!” has essentially recreated Åke Axelsson’s unique home and architectural studio as it looks on Engarn near Vaxholm. Included are his classic chairs, prototypes, archive material, interior pictures, furniture models, drawings, etc, and the space is a sort of laboratory for furniture design that has evolved over many decades.

Since the 1960s, Åke Axelsson (b. 1932) has been one of Sweden’s most sought-after interior designers. In addition to his training as an interior designer, he is also a trained cabinetmaker, and in a career spanning more than six decades, the now 88-year-old Axelsson has created award-winning designs and more than 200 different chairs. And he is still active to this day.

‘With this exhibition, which is designed as a tour of his home and studio in the Swedish archipelago, we celebrate Åke Axelsson’s amazing and productive career. There is something quite unique about his approach to his work and materials, which is a rich source of inspiration for many in Scandinavia,’ says Kari Svarre and Anders Petersen, who created the exhibition together.

Åke Axelsson has a long relationship with Swedish furniture maker Gärsnäs. He designed his first chair for them at their factory in Österlen in 1963. Since then, he has worked closely with the company in many major projects. Some of his designs are bestsellers year after year and have given Gärsnäs its hallmark style. In 2003, Åke, along with his daughter and her husband Dag Klockby, bought the company. In showing Åke Axelsson’s world, it is principally the world of Gärsnäs too.

Åke Axelsson’s work is as relevant as ever. His long career is shaped throughout by his clarity of vision, emphasis on quality and insistence on using resources responsibly. These core attributes are reflected in the focus on function, form and craftsmanship that characterizes his designs and the production of his excellent furniture, which is made to last for generations.

His holistic approach to sustainability, which considers economics as well as function and durability, is also ideally suited for a future grappling with resource scarcity and sustainability issues. That holistic approach is reflected, for example, in his use of wood, which has always played a key role in his work.

‘Wood is the material of the future,’ says Åke Axelsson. ‘Along with craftsmanship, it has been taking on renewed significance and relevance. Not in a nostalgic sense but in an effort to create better and more functional solutions for all.’

Åke Axelsson’s professional approach is shaped by his dual training as both an interior designer and a cabinetmaker. His in-depth understanding of wood and craftsmanship has clearly influenced his design of interiors and furnishing for libraries, schools, restaurants, museums, churches and preschools.

The welfare state ideals of community building and democratic design approaches are reflected in Åke Axelsson’s work. His design of public spaces and his production of furniture for a broad audience have been a driving force throughout his long career.

Among Åke Axelsson’s interior design achievements are the Riksdag Library (Stockholm), the library of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Stockholm), the art gallery Malmö Konsthall (Malmö), The Naval Museum (Karlskrona), Värmlands Museum (Karlstad), the art museum Sven-Harrys konstmuseum (Stockholm), The Royal Armoury (Stockholm), King Carl Gustaf’s Jubilee Room at the Royal Palace (Stockholm), Vreta Church (Linköping), Fredrik Church (Karlskrona) and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, UK).

Bygning A (Building A) is an offshoot of A. Petersen Collection & Craft, which runs the ground-floor shop and also develops a proprietary furniture series on the premises. Since 2018, concurrently with the commercial activities, critically acclaimed crafts and design exhibitions have been presented on the upper floor at Kløvermarksvej 70 in Copenhagen. The place is operated by Kari Svarre and Anders Petersen.

From September 2020, the exhibition venue is gaining an independent identity as Bygning A. In varying exhibitions, Bygning A will showcase crafts and design in exhibitions with sensory appeal and new insights. The exhibition ‘Welcome home, Åke!’ is the first to open under the new name, Bygning A.

Exhibition period – ’Welcome home, Åke!’
Exhibition period: 4 September 2020 – 28 February 2021

Bygning A / A. Petersen
Kløvermarksvej 70, 1st floor
2300 Copenhagen S

Opening hours, see

The exhibition opens during 3daysofdesign, the annual design event in Copenhagen, taking place 3-5 September 2020.

Official opening of ’Welcome home, Åke!’: Thursday, 3 September 2020, 12:00–20:00.
Coffee is served 12:00–16:00; and from 16:00, Copenhagen Distillery serves drinks. Free admission.

We follow the general guidelines and requirements issued by the authorities. We provide hand sanitiser and encourage everyone to keep appropriate distance.

Download hi-res photos and additional material: LINK

The exhibition opens Thursday, 3 September.

Press previews and guided tours of the exhibition before the opening by arrangement.
Contact [email protected] to arrange a preview.

It will be possible to meet Åke Axelsson during the opening event from 3 to 6 September.
Contact [email protected] to request an interview.

Press contact
Copenhagen Design Agency, [email protected], tel. +45 2943 6411 / +45 2249 4091

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