Designers

Torbjørn Bekken

(1919-2009)

The Norwegian designer Torbjørn Bekken graduated from the National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in 1946. Fresh from school he was picked up by the progressive furniture and interior design company Rastad & Relling Tegnekontor, where he worked for most of his career. They were known for spotting design talents and their hands-on understanding of how the marked worked. Together with companies like Bruksbo Designstudio, Rastad & Relling were one of the pioneers in shaping the Norwegian design scene after the Second World War.

Bekken played a significant part in the design trends of the 1950-60s. All Scandinavian countries had a love for wood and it was the obvious choice at the time. Bekken was a person who got his influence from pure function in combination with interior styles. He was also a man that liked technical challenges; machines were never a restriction, but a way to reach the masses. He has a solid production to his name, but is still relatively unknown. It seems like he didn’t seek the spotlight, but rather preferred to work quietly behind the scenes.

Fredrik A. Kayser

(1924-1968)

Fredrik A. Kayser is a well-loved furniture designer from the Scandinavian Design period of the mid-twentieth century. He was born in the Norwegian town Bergen, grew up in a musical family, and played both the cello and the mandolin. He found a lot of inspiration in music. His father Trygve Kayser had a furniture agency and a large network in the industry. Fredrik began his carpentry apprenticeship right after the middle school exam. At the age of 15, he had already drawn his first dining room, which was put into production at Viken Møbelfabrikk. Kayser got his diploma at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo in 1945, the same year he started his career at the Rastad & Relling Tegnekontor.

His furniture is characterized by elegant design and material sensitivity, with a rare sense of proportions and composition. In his most famous design, “Krysset”, the front and back legs are fixed together by four wood nails that in a refined way emphasize the construction. Kayser was inspired by the trends of the time, but always managed to give his creations a unique personal touch, with elegance that made them instant classics.

Sigurd Resell

(1920-2010)

Sigurd Resell was one of the country’s most formidable furniture designers in the 1950s and 60s. What characterizes his furniture more than anything is an elegant and logical construction. While mostly designing furniture in a moderately traditional style, he later also developed a number of models in a more modern, international design language. He received nine different awards at various competitions and exhibitions at home and abroad.

He graduated from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in 1947. Resell then began working for Rastad & Relling Tegnekontor, where he stayed until 1968, with a brief intermission from ’53 to ’56, creating some of the era’s most formative furniture.The dining table Øya is a great example of his design talent, an elliptical shaped table in solid wood designed many years before his competitors.

Arne Tjomsland

(1915-1970)

Arne Tjomsland was Norway’s leading designer of small scaled figures in the 1950s and ‘60s, a self-taught creator originally working with advertisement and toy design. He gave shape to animals from the Nordic fauna, as well as Inuits and Vikings, in wood and whalebone. His first figure was a polar bear made from teak. At first, Tjomsland made all the figures himself, but when demand grew, furniture manufacturer Hiorth & Østlyngen took over some of the production. He got the inspiration for his figures from reading Polar literature as a child and the time spent with his father – preparatory Michael Tjomsland – at the Zoological Museum in Oslo. His artistic style is characterized by simplified organic shapes and soft but defined lines.

In 1954, Tjomsland was invited to attend the exhibition Design in Scandinavia, which was touring the United States and Canada from 1954 to 1957. He received a Gold medal for his creations in the 1957 Deutsche Handwerksmesse in Munich and a Silver medal in the 1960 Triennale di Milano.

In 1957, Arne Tjomsland became the artistic director of Goodwill Produkter, an organization that gave disabled people a chance to work.