Swedish Designer Bruno Mathsson’s Home Is a Perfect Midcentury Time Capsule

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By Jenny Xie
We travel to Värnamo in southern Sweden for an exclusive tour of the iconic furniture maker and designer’s summer home.

On a recent journey through Småland, a southern province in Sweden famous for its design heritage, we had the special privilege of touring the home of furniture designer and architect Bruno Mathsson and his wife, Karin Swård. Full to the brim with Mathsson’s own designs, the couple’s belongings lying undisturbed, the residence is a luminous example of how the renowned Swedish designer approached work and life, putting functionality and innovation above all.

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Named Södra Kull, which translates in English to "Southern Hills," the 1965 residence is tucked into the woods by the shores of Lake Vidöstern—just south of Värnamo, which is Mathsson’s hometown. The entry leads to a narrow hallway, which brings you to a modest bedroom and adjacent office. The bedroom has access to a private courtyard. (Mathsson so valued the outdoors that he often slept outside.)

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Iconic designs that earned him international attention, such as the Eva Chair, the Pernilla Lounge, and the Jetson Chair, are dotted throughout the midcentury interior. The low-slung home features an open dining and living space that opens to views of the water thanks to a glass wall, which also brings in generous amounts of light. An extensive library stretches along two walls, and a brick fireplace warms one of several reading nooks.

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A fifth-generation cabinet maker, Mathsson turned to furniture-making at the age of 16 and gained worldwide acclaim after winning a Grand Prix for his Paris Daybed at the 1937 world exhibition. A trip to the United States in 1948 inspired him to build glass houses—a feat considering Sweden’s frigid winters. Cozy, intimate, and elegantly designed, Södra Kull manages to be contemplative while opening up to the outside world.

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