In a cellar in the Old Town of Stockholm, three kilometres from Svenskt Tenn’s flagship store on Strandvägen, is Larsson Korgmakare – the only manufacturer of rattan furniture in Sweden. Here, Erica Larsson and her colleague Lasse manage the production of Svenskt Tenn’s rattan armchairs, sofas and stools.
Except producing furniture, the workshop also carries out repairs and chair seat braiding of rattan, rush and string. The long rattan bands, used for binding the furniture together, are made from the skin of rattan. The strands are dampened before they are bound to the rattan. Sometimes the end binding is completed with a staple, a tack or a pin.
The import of rattan to Europe took off in the 18th century thanks to the East India Company. At the time rattan was primarily used for chair seat braiding. It was only after the Second World War that production of rattan furniture began in earnest and it was then Erica’s grandfather, John, initiated the collaboration with Josef Frank. However, the family company has a history that goes even further back: In 1903 Erica’s grandfather and uncle moved from Västerås to Stockholm to found the company Larsson Korgmakare.
Over his lifetime Josef Frank designed about a hundred different pieces of furniture made entirely of rattan, and a variety of chairs with rattan details. The material gives an Oriental accent and is lightweight, something that is typical of Josef Frank’s design.