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In 1975, Björn Hultén was commissioned to decorate the Swedish Embassy in Cairo. For the Embassy’s terrace, he designed and set out several foldable chairs. A solution that is a great deal more elegant than it might sound at first. The same type of chair was a favourite of the British, a hundred years earlier, who took them to Egypt, which was then part of the Empire. To decorate an embassy with a former occupying power’s furniture might seem rather ill advised diplomatically. Björn had already visited Cairo as early as 1960 to see the National Museum’s collection of furniture from Tutankhamon’s tomb. And there it was – the chair. Albeit in ebony, decorated with ivory and gold. Björn saw a wood and fabric chair that could be folded and carried. So the chair on the terrace was a subtle but distinct reference to an Egyptian legacy, roughly three thousand years older than the British safari chair. We should add that Kryss is an exceedingly comfortable chair to sit in, even if you’re not a diplomat.
Björn Hultén is one of the most celebrated names in Swedish furniture design. He past away in 2008 but his legacy very much lives on through everything he designed, including almost 200 chairs! Two of which we make here at Skargaarden. H55, designed for the Helsingborg Exhibition in 1955, and Kryss; designed in 1975 for the (then new) Swedish Embassy in Cairo. Björn Hultén was also a professor at the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg.