The Designs of Folke Ohlsson

The aesthetic that Folke Ohlsson offered was truly revolutionary. By incorporating some of his designs in your home, you'll gain more comfort and originality.
The Designs of Folke Ohlsson

Last update: 29 March, 2022

You’ve probably enjoyed the designs of Folke Ohlsson on more than one occasion. We’re talking about some distinctive pieces of furniture he started to design in the 60s. Many of these pieces have become staples within homes all over the world for decades after he created them.

Although his name might not be all that familiar to you, his work really has an astounding global reach. His designs seem to adapt to all sorts of spaces. That’s why people consider him one of the best interior designers of all time.

There’s no doubt that this man has been and will continue to be a figure for artists and decorators to continue to look up to. His creations have come to be a changing point between the first and second half of the 20th century. In this article, we’re going to find out a little more about this figure and his works.

A historic overview

A chair with grey upholstry designed by Folke Olhsson.
Furniture /

Folke Ohlsson was born in Sweden in 1919. From an early age, he was intimately involved with the world of art, the avant-garde, and most significantly, interior design. His curiosity for this field would lead him to enter the school of the Gothenburg Society of Industrial Design.

In 1953, he decided to make his way to the USA, since America would offer him more possibilities in terms of his artistic production, learning, and creation. He would go on to create DUX Inc. in San Francisco. This company gave him the freedom to develop his ideas.

A little later in 1956, he moved his company to California. There it would enjoy many productive and intellectual developments. Ohlsson would learn from the best designers of the time and he would prove himself capable of creating his own original forms. These would be quite different from anything that people had seen before.

Folkhe Ohlsson’s USA-75 chair

Two brown and white Ohlsson chairs.
Chair /

This chair is one of the designer’s most iconic works. Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s come so far in the commercial sense. It started to gain a lot of its popularity in the 60s and went on to be an important fixture in the field of interior design.

What’s unique about it?

The first thing you’ll notice when looking at this chair is that it’s much wider than other seating of the era. So it loses some of its sense of height and instead, gains more aesthetic stability. The seat itself is inclined. It leaves the traditional rigid chair in the past and seeks out a position that’s more laid back. As such, it gains a greater level of comfort. Its aim is to provide a more comfortable seat and a place you can sit for longer periods of time.

The backrest is also wide and perfectly adapted to a person’s back. It has a certain inclination in order to provide more pleasant support. A person can truly feel comfortable with this. Of course, the chair has cushions to make it softer for the body.

On the other hand, it’s worth stressing that this creates a dynamic feeling. It does so through the various straight lines positioned diagonally.

Living room armchair by Folke Ohlsson

After releasing his USA-75 chair, he would continue to create far more sophisticated works for living room use. The goal is for this place to obtain a more innovative decorative sense and that it’s also welcoming at the same time.

It actually has the same basic structure. That’s to say, it has a form that looks a lot like the chair, but it tries to hide its wooden frame. That way it becomes more inviting.

The upholstery practically covers the whole wood surface. This includes the back and the armrests. Nothing is left uncovered other than the legs. This all makes the piece a much more comfortable place to sit.

Aesthetic conception of his designs

After taking a closer look at some of the works of this designer, you have to keep this idea in mind: the main intention is to reach a point of originality that’s linked to comfort and is going to make people feel more relaxed.

Folke Ohlsson showed that the art of the first half of the 20th century has been his guide and source of inspiration. Whatever the case may be, his creations are sure to be very influential in some truly interesting decorative works and ideas yet to come.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • AA. VV.: The American  Swedish Monthly, Swedish Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A., 1958.
  • Garvey, Pauline: Unpacking IKEA. Swedish Design for the Purchasing Masses, Routledge, 2017.