Every Chair Has A Story (this one includes a prince)
Earlier this week I came across a signed Danish modern chair by John Stuart Inc. The form and ergonomics of the chair is characteristic to the Danish Modern style. The upholstery is black leather and the back of the chair tilts (and I am assuming it swivels and flips) for comfort. The wood appears to be oak which threw me off a little, since most furniture from this period is typically teak. Intrigued, I began doing a little research.
Here is what I found:
John Stuart Inc is the U.S. distributor for the Danish furniture makers France and Son, once France & Davorkesen. Although I am not sure if this particular chair was made by France & Son it is marked by John Stuart Inc and signed by the designer Sigvard Bernadotte.
Sigvard Bernadotte was a man with quite a story as it turns out. Born Prince Sigvard Bernadotte of Sweden in 1907 to King Gustav VI Adolf and Princess Margaret. He lost his title when he married his first wife, who was a commoner. Bernadotte’s first love was theatre and stage design before he began his career in graphic and industrial design. He studied under Olle Hjortzberg and later became partners with Acton Bjorn, opening a design studio in Copenhagen before opening his own design studio in Stockholm. Bernadotte’s work was not only functional but influential. He went on to co-found the Swedish Society of Industrial Designers and served as president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Bernadotte designed simplistic everyday items like furniture, silverware, bowls, teapots and other household items. He is one of the earlier pioneers of Swedish and Danish design. Surprisingly information on Bernadotte seemed very limited, none of my design books mention him so I sought my sources online. He did publish an autobiography in 1975 titled Heads or Tails, which has never been translated. Bernadotte made several attempts to reinstate his title as prince without success before his death in 2002. Regardless of his royal status Bernadotte left behind a legacy in modern design. If anyone knows more about him or can offer other sources please leave in the comments below. k