Daily Archives: May 11, 2015

Sigvard Bernadotte – the industrial design prince of Sweden and brother to the late queen Ingrid of Denmark

While Sigvard Bernadotte may not have left our world as a prince, he is commonly referred to as the “Design Prince of Sweden.” That title is perhaps even more honorable because it hails his contributions and accomplishments rather than simply a name someone can be born with.

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Bernadotte is one of the few people born into the Swedish royal family who was able to carve out a name for himself and to have a direct, lasting effect on the daily lives of ordinary people.

While you may never have known his name or face, you are likely familiar with his work as a graphic artist and industrial designer. You may even have a piece of his work in your home.

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France and Son made this beautiful easy chair – Sigvard Bernadotte the designer.

During Sigvard Bernadotte’s career as a graphic and industrial designer, he amassed an impressive and influential body of work, the products of which – calculators, can openers, flatware, radios – have found their way into literally millions of homes and offices around the world. Under the shadow of his fight to regain his royal title, Bernadotte blazed his own way, building a reputation and legacy as one of Sweden’s most famous and revered designers.

The clearest indication of his global impact is the simple fact that many people who are familiar with the Swedish Royal Family recognize the royals only by their titles – such as King Carl XVI Gustav – yet they are unaware that the family’s last name is Bernadotte. Sigvard Bernadotte arguably made the Bernadotte name more recognizable as his own than it is for the royal family he was denied a place in.

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Flemming Brylle & Preben Jacobsen of Denmark

In 1965 the artist Flemming Brylle and industrial designer Preben Jacobsen invented the self assembly/ knock down system in modern lighting. They designed and produced a wide range of designs and spread them all over the world, millions per year. The last years Brylle/Jacobsen designs have been more popular than ever. The simple Scandinavian design make their designs a safe choice within contemporary lighting.

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lots of different lights from these brilliant designers at Deerstedt Etsy shop

Moon light table lamp

Moon light ceiling light

Large moon light table lamp

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Even the company’s metal-bodied Moon Light, which continues to pop up from time to time, never seems to have any labels attached and is thus usually unrecognised, sellers often simply describing it as being “like a Panton Flowerpot”. The lack of trace left by the company was exacerbated by the apparently low profile it kept in advertising. A rare 1970 Quality System advertisement, reproduced below, offered the following information about the company’s products:

Some of Denmark’s best-selling lights, familiar in most parts of the world, can now be ordered direct to your home. Lights that can be assembled in a very short time, manufactured in antistatic polyacrylic – a material with very fine light-dispersing qualities that is also easy to clean. These 10 lamps (from a total of 63 different models) have been created by famous designers, and fit perfectly into today’s residential milieu. New lighting throughout the home straight to your door.

In 2003, astonished at the exorbitant prices they saw vintage Quality System lights being sold at, Brylle and Jacobsen re-established the company and began producing new retro-style designs, meeting once again with immediate global success and selling more than half a million units in the first six months of operation.