It all started in 1898, when the cabinet-maker Karl Andersson started producing items of everyday furniture in the little village of Berghem, between the towns of Huskvarna and Gränna, in the south of Sweden. 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.
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, designed to last". 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.
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 – now most often in the form of the veneered blockboard that we produce in-house, or solid wood. Since 2000, we have also used steel in some of our furniture.
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.
Today, the company is run by Karl Andersson’s grandson, Ingvar Wadskog, together with his children, Maria, Sara and Andreas. We are located in Huskvarna, with our office, showroom and production premises concentrated to a single site. Some thirty people work at Karl Andersson & Söner, transforming planks and boards into furniture for export all over the world. The family is ably supported by a hard-working sales force and a talented production team, ensuring that the name of Karl Andersson & Söner maintains its reputation for high-quality, classic wooden furniture. Combining the latest serial production techniques with true craftsmanship, the company continues to produce "well-made furniture, designed to last" that today is sold and appreciated throughout the world.