Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers

Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers

Stephen Burks will be the first recipient of the newly established Bruno Mathsson Design Residency. Burks, a prominent American designer, will participate in the residency from May 15 to June 15, 2024. Learn more about the Swedish Design Residency which  opens for Internationally Working Designers.

In May 2024, the first Bruno Mathsson Design Residency will take place in Värnamo, Sweden. The purpose of the residency is to offer an internationally working designer time for research, development, networking, and focus in a stimulating architectural environment, within the context of Vandalorum Museum of Art and Design and the extensive manufacturing industry of the region.

All international designers, based outside of Sweden, are welcome to apply

The resident is offered to stay for a month in a groundbreaking house designed by the influential architect and furniture designer Bruno Mathsson (1907–88). The house, from 1955, is located in Bruno Mathsson’s hometown of Värnamo in Småland, and was originally commissioned by Sven Lundh (founder of Källemo and initiator of Vandalorum).

Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers
Stephen Burks, Broom Thing, Berea College Student Craft

The Bruno Mathsson Design Residency is run by the Region Jönköping County and Vandalorum. During the residence period, the designer is offered visits to the extensive furniture and manufacturing industry in the Jönköping region, based on the designer’s choice and interests. The designer is also offered a tour to Bruno Mathsson’s private home and the Mathsson Center, and is invited to give a public lecture at Vandalorum during the residence period.

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Stephen Burks residing in the Bruno Mathsson House

Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers
Stephen Burks, Kida Dining Chair, Dedon, 2023

“I believe the closer the hand gets to the act of making, the more potential there is for innovation. The Bruno Mathsson residency will bring my way of working into conversation with Swedish design history and industrial expertise while questioning who participates in design and who benefits. As the world faces continued global crises, design has the capacity to create more dialogue around more issues for more people. Even today, Mathsson’s legacy is living proof of this,” says Stephen Burks.

The residency is run by Region Jönköping County and Vandalorum, in collaboration with IASPIS/The Swedish Arts Grants Committee`s International Programme for Visual and Applied Art and Värnamo Municipality, in collaboration with entrepreneur and furniture collector Johan Sjöberg, Bruno Mathsson International, and the Karin and Bruno Mathsson Foundation.

This year, 43 qualified designers from five continents have applied for the residency, with a jury consisting of Dr. Mateo Kries, Director, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; Jenny Nordberg, designer, Röstånga; Magnus Jonsson, Head of Culture, Region Jönköping County; Lennart Alves Gernes, Art and Design Developer, Region Jönköping County; and Elna Svenle, Museum Director, Vandalorum, Värnamo.

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Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers
Stephen Burks. Photo: Lighthouse.

About Stephen Burks 

Stephen Burks (b. 1969, based in New York) is a designer and professor of architecture at Columbia University in New York. He studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Product Design at IIT’S Institute of Design, as well as attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. Burks is the first African American to receive the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in product design. Independently and through association with the non-profits Aid To Artisans, Artesanias de Colombia, the Clinton Global Initiative, Design Network Africa and the Nature Conservancy, Burks has worked as a product development consultant in close collaboration with hundreds of artisans in over 15 countries on six continents. He believes in a pluralistic vision of design that is inclusive of all cultural perspectives. His Man Made project bridges the gap between authentic developing world production, industrial manufacturing and contemporary design.

Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers
Stephen Burks, Kida Swing, Dedon, 2020

Burk’s work has been exhibited internationally including the Armory Show, Art Basel/Design Miami, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, MAD Museum of Art & Design, Philadelphia Art Museum, Salone del Mobile, Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale, and the Stockholm Furniture Fair, and the Studio Museum Harlem. He has received various awards, including the Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Professional Achievement Award, the Brooklyn Museum Modernism Young Designer Award, and the United States Artists Architecture & Design Target Fellowship Grant. Burks has also served as a product development consultant global brands like Dedon, Missoni, and Swarovski.

Feature image (on top); The house at Backegårdsgatan, Värnamo, Sweden. Designed by Bruno Mathsson, 1955. Photograph Peo Olsson.

Swedish Design Residency Opens for Internationally Working Designers, based on a press release from Vandalorum.

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