History of Karl Andersson & Söner
It all began in 1898 when carpenter Karl Andersson
began to manufacture furniture in the small village of Berghem between
Huskvarna and Gränna. In the early years, he worked as a
journeyman and later as a fully qualified master cabinet-maker in Stockholm and
Jönköping. When he later returned to Berghem, he converted a room in his
parent's home into a workshop. His equipment was simple. An incorrigible
optimist, armed with no more than a planing bench, a bow saw, a trying plane
and a modest collection of smaller tools, he started producing writing
cabinets, beds, sofas, tables and chairs for anyone who needed them.
To produce only well-made furniture, durable and sustainable.
Karl Andersson was known for his creativity, boundless enthusiasm and dynamism, a man who saw his ideas through to completion. He solemnly undertook to manufacture nothing but "well-made furniture, durable and sustainable". Already, he used the word sustainable. A word and mindset that has followed us for four generations and which is still in our business concept. Before long he had earned himself the reputation of being "the finest – albeit the most expensive – craftsman in the district". Over the years Karl and his wife, Ida, were blessed with five sons and six daughters, also taking in a foster son. One by one, four of the five boys became involved in their father's business and each was assigned his own area of responsibility. Karl Andersson's advice to his sons was straightforward: "Stick together boys, and things will go well for you." In 1944, they formed the limited company Karl Andersson & Söner.
Wood as a foundation, but open to new materials.
The company grew, and with it the ethos of traditional craftsmanship and the reputation for the highest quality, now translated to meet the demands of modern, large-scale industrial production. Today the vision nurtured by Karl Andersson and his sons remains as relevant as ever. High quality, good function and integrity of form are still the hallmarks of the firm's products. And wood continues to play a prominent role. Since 2000, we have also used steel in some of our furniture. HI-MACS, the a highly durable, mineral-based material, we started to use for the table Buff in 2012. Our products will still be well-made and durable. And we work resource-efficiently and climate-smartly within the areas of the 17 climate goals that the UN has drawn up in Agenda 2030 for the furniture industry.
Carl Malmsten, Børge Mogensen, Göran Malmvall.
Over the years, our collaboration with several designers has proved highly successful. Many items of furniture from Karl Andersson & Söner have become classics. Some even feature in the collections of the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum) in Stockholm. In the late 1940s, Professor Carl Malmsten designed the Visingsö and Vapensmeden furniture series for us. A few years later, in 1955, the Danish architect Børge Mogensen designed the Øresund series of tables, cabinets and chairs. (It was at this point that Karl Andersson & Söner initiated industrial production of blockboard and veneer.) The Øresund series is still produced today – and feels as up-to-date now as it did back in the 1950s. In 1972, Karl Andersson's youngest son, Göran Malmvall, created the KA72 series of cabinets. Today, these cabinets are found not only in homes and offices, but also in embassies around the world. At the close of the 20th century, Ulla Christiansson introduced elements of steel into our wooden furniture. Her Trippo series, introduced in 2000, features tables with slender steel legs. At the same time, Tony Almén and Peter Gest were working on what was to become our 2K cabinet, also incorporating elements of steel. The latest addition to our series of tables came in 2006, with the Chamfer series designed by Mattias Ståhlbom and Daniel Franzén.
100 years anniversary.
In 1998 it was one hundred years since Karl Andersson began to make "well-made furniture, durable and sustainable”. The centenary was celebrated with a major exhibition at the County Museum in Jönköping and an unforgettable royal occasion when King Carl XVI Gustaf visited our factory in Huskvarna and ate lunch together with all our employees and invited guests. In 2003 we made further extensions to the Huskvarna production plant and have since concentrated all our manufacturing operations here. In March 2015, it was time for another new expansion of the factory. It was the assembly, packing and unloading that got larger premises and a completely new loading bay.
CSR Before the concept existed.
Together with SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, we have been involved in a number of development projects in Africa, South America and India over the years. In the early 1980s we ran courses in Huskvarna for a dozen or so aspiring cabinet-makers from Swaziland, Tanzania and Botswana. Some years later we helped to start a furniture and carpentry factory in Mbeya in south-west Tanzania. We were on site there for six months to provide assistance with everything from the purchase and installation of all the factory's machines and equipment to training the workers and overseeing the start of manufacturing operations. Between 1995 and 1997 we trained several Chileans from the Muebles Sur factory in Santiago. This led subsequently to the factory manufacturing some of our series of furniture under licence for a number of years. From 1999 to 2001 we trained eight people from Living Room Lifestyle in Bombay and from Goa in India in corporate management techniques, marketing, design and manufacturing.
Sustainable stands at furniture fairs.
The first time we took part in the major international furniture fair in Milan, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, was in 2002. Since then we have exhibited there every year. In addition, we have, of course, been a regular exhibitor at the Stockholm Furniture Fair every February since 2000. We regularly visit Orgatec in Cologne and Designers Saturday in Oslo. Over the years, we have also participated in London Design Week, 100% Design in Tokyo and ICFF in New York. Our exhibition stands are of course sustainable. We recycle floors, walls and other mounting materials that we ourselves have designed for long-term use. Guys and girls from the factory in Huskvarna follow along and build up and assemble the stands at every fair – wherever in the world it is. We recycle our booth when most other companies wears and tears their material from trade fairs. For us, it is natural with reuse.
Awards and prizes
Over the course of the years we have received many awards and prizes for our furniture. what used to be known as the Excellent Swedish Design Award was presented for our Hommage Josef Frank (1986): an example of this cabinet was purchased by the Nordiska Museet, Sweden's largest museum of cultural history, and can today be seen in the museum's collection. Our tables Tema and Kvadrat i Kvadrat (1987), Prima Vista (1988), Kaskad (1993, Kazetti Office (1997) and Trio (1999) also received the Excellent Swedish Design Award, as did the Katell (1997) series of seating furniture. In addition, three of our tables - Brygga (2005), Chamfer (2006), Newton (2010) - have received Swedish fashion and design magazine, Elle Decoration "Furnishing of the Year" award. The Newton table also received the Nordic Design Prize in 2009. In the same year, 2009 our Thinner table received the prestigious, "Design S/Swedish Design Award", the latest design award from Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design). Our shelf Level was awarded in 2012 by the Swedish interior design magazine Residence.
In 2009 we began to manufacture products for a new area of the range, KA Small. First out was the ingenious little wall-mounted peg, Piniwini, that works lika a minimalistic bookshelf. Piniwini attracted a huge amount of attention at Milan Fair. Today "small by Karl Andersson & Söner" comprises a selection of small but smart products such as Chess, FlipFlop, Knob and ponoq, all of which are designed to make everyday life a little simpler and a lot more fun. On the strengh of these designs, in 2010 we took part for the first time in the Formex trade fair for interior design, decoration and giftware.
Solar cells on the roof and only renewable energy.
Our factory in Huskvarna is completely fossil-free. In the spring of 2018, we installed solar cells on the roof of our factory to be able to produce our own renewable energy. The idea is that we will produce about 10% of our annual demand via the solar cells. This corresponds to nearly 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being avoided each year. And when the factory is not up and running, we sell the surplus to the public network. Our furniture factory in Huskvarna is only operated by renewable energy from the sun, wind and water supplied by Jönköping Energy.
All production in Huskvarna - still today
Today Karl Andersson & Söner is managed by Karl Andersson's great grandchildren, Maria, Sara and Andreas Wadskog. You will find us in Huskvarna, in the South of Sweden, where we have manufacturing facilites, offices and showrooms. In all, there are some 35 people working at Karl Andersson & Söner with development and production, closely following the journey of every product from planks and boards to a beautiful, fully finished item of furniture. To help us, we have an expert sales team and a fantastic workforce in the factory, with men and women who make sure that Karl Andersson & Söner maintains its excellent reputation for supplying Classic, high-quality wooden furnishings. That is why, even today, our little factory in Huskvarna continues to produce "well-made furniture, durable and sustainable" - and now exports it to every corner of the globe.
Handmade in Huskvarna. Since 1898.