"Let's get started and see how it goes"

We now know how it went. In 1945, Yngve Ekström, his brother Jerker and their friend Bertil Sjöqvist were not so certain. In the small town of Vaggeryd alone, there were 16 furniture companies in the 1950s, together employing just over half the working population. Today, only one of them is left.

In 1945, starting a furniture-making business in Småland was hardly a unique proposition. Many companies were set up, and no one could have said at that time which of them would live on and which would be closed down, bought up to be merged with others or turned into a subcontractor to the big discount furniture store. We now know that Yngve had a powerful vision and that what he and his partners created was strong enough to survive.

Many of the great Modernist designers were all-round artists with a firm grasp of everything from architecture to the furniture in a house, right down to the clothes its inhabitants wore. Swedese’s founder Yngve Ekström was no exception. Along with figures such as Alvar Aalto, Bruno Mathsson, Arne Jacobsen and Paul Kjaerholm, Yngve Ekström formed the core of the generation of designers that made the concept of Scandinavian Modern known around the world. He used his keen eye to design Swedese’s furniture, and he also designed the head office, together with L+M Architects, created the logo, took photographs, and produced the catalogues and the Christmas cards (with poems he wrote himself). And so on.

Our origins are still very much in evidence; for example, we are still based in the same beautiful building in Vaggeryd. We have enormous respect for Yngve Ekström and his ideas, and what we feel we most need to preserve is his curiosity about the world around him, about culture and about the future. This is the legacy we want to pass on, a legacy that also enables us to benefit from over 70 years of experience while allowing us to remain young at heart.