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Mid-Century for New Times

Enduringly appealing mid-century Scandinavian design is faithfully reproduced and translated into new forms by Shanghai-based brand MatzForm, which is reaching into the contract market through its partnership with Haworth’s x Friends program.

  • MamaBear

  • Sushi

  • Sushi


January 30th, 2017

The longevity and transferability of mid-century Scandinavian furniture design through the years has a lot to do with its form and style – sculptural shapes that express the forward-looking era of the mid-twentieth century and beckon the body with generous curves and proportions. But the ongoing appeal of furniture from this era is surely also related to its comforting materiality and the gentle character of handcrafting.

In the 1950s, fiberglass was only just emerging as a material for furniture making, and over the subsequent decades a multitude of other industrial materials as well as mechanised processes have been developed and become mainstays in the furniture designer’s repertoire.

Handcrafted wood and classic shapes retain their allure, however, perhaps because of the notion of comfort they evoke and the actual comfort they provide. Danish master cabinetmaker Soren Matz understands this well. He represents the fourth generation of a family of woodworkers, tracing back to his great grandfather who built ships in the earlier part of the twentieth century. The building of ships and fine furniture has been handed down through the subsequent generations of the Matz family, with Soren Matz embarking on his woodworking apprenticeship in Copenhagen as a teenager in the 1980s.

After working alongside master craftsmen for nearly two decades in Japan, Matz ventured along his own path in 2005 by establishing MatzForm in Shanghai – the realisation of a long-held dream of providing high-quality, heirloom furniture at prices that were accessible to all. MatzForm has evolved into a manufacturer of iconic licensed classic Scandinavian furniture as well as being a design house in its own right. And becoming a Haworth x Friends partner has allowed Matz to extend his reach and develop a contract offering for the commercial sector.

All of MatzForm’s furniture is produced by hand with traditional time-tested cabinetry techniques – not by machines – and this contributes to the brand character of simplicity, timelessness, durability and quality. Hand sanding and polishing complete each piece, and licensed furniture is supplied with a serial-numbered authenticity plaque on the base. The concern for timelessness extends to environmental considerations; Matz makes a point of using American white oak rather than tropical hardwoods, and environmentally friendly finishes, upholstery materials and fittings are standard across the range.

Among the best-selling pieces in the Haworth xFriends catalogue are the Sushi sofa and chair (designed by Erling Torvits in the 1950s), the Mama Bear armchair (designed with a classic look by Matz Studio more recently), and the Bodega stools (designed by Niels Vodder in the 1950s). Despite the breadth of their heritage, these pieces are cohesive in their comfort, character and appeal – a sign that Matz has hit the right note.

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