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Inside Story: Norwegian furniture brand Eikund

The design firm on a mission to bring Norwegian classics out of the attic and into the mid-century hall of fame

eikund midcentury furniture
Eikund

‘It was a year-long treasure hunt,’ says Eikund CEO Jørgen Tengesdal, on the furniture company’s enterprising beginnings in 2015.

When a conversation between Tengesdal and co-founders Morten Hippe and Frode Tingbø raised the question, ‘Why aren’t heritage Norwegian pieces as renowned as Danish classics?’, they decided to create Eikund to help set it right.

‘We wanted to put our mid-century designs under the spotlight,’ Tengesdal explains. ‘Most people didn’t know that there were any Norwegian designs from that era on the same level as the Danish icons.’

eikund's 'fluffy lounge chair' by fredrik a kayser
’Fluffy lounge chair’ by Fredrik A Kayser
ANNA STATHAKI

The trio delved into books and records from the 1950s, seeking out specific pieces (and discovering hidden gems along the way), before tracking down the designers’ children or grandchildren. Travelling all over Norway, they rifled through long-forgotten drawings in basements and attics of relatives who, in some cases, were unaware of their parent’s or grandparent’s design acumen. ‘The families were incredibly positive about bringing these old designs to life,’ says Tengesdal. ‘If we hadn’t gone to meet them, the plans would probably have been thrown away or never found.’

eikund's 'isbjørn' polar bear by arne tjomsland
’Isbjørn’ polar bear by Arne Tjomsland
Eikund

With around 10 designers on its books, Eikund has a shapely collection of seating and tables, as well as decorative animals by renowned maker Arne Tjomsland. While all of the designers are now deceased, the brand did work with industrial furniture designer Sven Ivar Dysthe on his ‘Era’ dining chair before he passed away in March, aged 88. Having been told in 1956 that a stackable chair was ‘too modern’, he was enthusiastically involved in its revival and was delighted to see the piece finally in production.

eikund's ‘krysset’ lounge chair by fredrik a kayser
‘Veng’ lounge chair by Torbjørn Bekken
Eikund

Today, the furniture is made on the country’s western coast using sustainable oak (‘eik’ is Norwegian for oak) and walnut, rather than the less eco-friendly mid-century timbers of choice, teak and palisander. Highlights of the collection include Fredrik A Kayser’s 1955 ‘Krysset’ chair, with its striking cross-shaped legs, and the whimsical ‘Fluffy’ chair from 1954, also by Kayser, a statement in shaggy wool from wild Norwegian sheep.

The brand now has rights to around 50 archive designs and recently worked on Pantechnicon, the newly opened Nordic-Japanese fusion shopping and dining destination in London, plus a project with Studioilse and new ventures in the US, Europe and Australia. Thanks to Eikund, Norway’s timeless pieces are at last getting the global recognition they deserve. Available in the UK at Aram Store. eikund.com

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration September 2020

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