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Zen New York armchair design Åke Axelsson

Since autumn, Zen New York has been at work, appropriately dressed and restrainedly elegant, at the UN Headquarters in New York. 470 chairs, including several variations, now serve the ECOSOC chamber, which was designed by Sven Markelius in 1950. The original chairs, after 70 years of constant use, were scrapped and replaced by Zen New York.


It is a new chair based on a tried and tested design, adapted for tough wear and tear and constructed to enable simple renovation. “It’s not just about designing a new chair, but gathering together and developing experiences,” says the chair’s designer Åke Axelsson, furniture maker and interior architect with more than 65 years of experience. Zen New York is based on an earlier model, Åke Axelsson’s Zen, which has proven itself in all kinds of public contexts and is easy to adapt to new interiors.

“It is a crucial point that knowledge and experience are adapted to new circumstances,” says Åke.

Zen New York was made slightly wider and given a thicker seat to accommodate all kinds of bodies. It has grips on the arms to facilitate moving the chair. The wooden legs reference the Scandinavian furniture tradition.

This chair was developed in collaboration with Åke Axelsson and Lotta Cronsjö Gest, interior architect at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Government Offices of Sweden, as well as the carpenters at Gärsnäs and fabric experts.

ZEN NEW YORK armchair
Design Åke Axelsson 2023

Armchair, fully upholstered in fabric or leather.
4-legged wood frame in solid ash.
Available in lower seat height 420 mm

Armchair – straight armrest.


Armchair – bent armrest.

5-legged swivel base

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