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A decade of dedication

”The fact that we have been self-financed from the start means of course that the journey has been tough, challenging, difficult, financially demanding and stressful, but we’ve always had a lot of fun.”

Words Johan Magnusson
Photography Lucas Frisk Bergqvist

After last year’s sale increase of 60%, Swedish design brand Massproductions celebrate their first 10 years with a jubilee edition of the Tio chair. When an old client of founder Chris Martin couldn’t manufacture the chair Martin had designed for them, he and colleague Magnus Elebäck decided to start a company to market it themselves.

— We presented it at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2009 as the Tio chair, says Elebäck. No one had seen anything quite like it before and in terms of design language and material it was a success. Massproductions was formed and we haven’t looked back since. From the start our approach has always been industrial, volume production led design, hence the name Massproductions. We were surprised that some people had negative connotations to it, for us it’s a very positive thing.

How do you stand out as a brand?

Elebäck — The balance between the producer and the designer. The fact that we are covering the entire production chain under one roof allows us to take a more long-term perspective when it comes to the product, than a consultant who designs a wide variety of products for different manufacturers.
Martin — And the way we often work with humble materials and elevate them to a higher status with how they are used is also significant to us. The Tio Chair is a good example of that; metal wires are about as basic as you can get but when bent and welded into a good looking, functional product it’s very satisfying.

How have the first ten years been?

Elebäck — In 2018, sales have increased by 60% and we’ve been able to participate in a number of interesting projects like the design of the Draft table for the Swedish National Museum of Arts and having several pieces selected to furnish Urs Fischer’s new studio in Brooklyn. We have also grown bigger in the retail segment, setting up several new collaborations in cities like Paris, London, and Seoul. The fact that we have been self-financed from the start means of course that the journey has been tough, challenging, difficult, financially demanding and stressful, but we’ve always had a lot of fun. However, independence has been a very considered choice. We are driven by the idea that the best products are made when the producer and the designer is equal. It is extremely important to us. We strongly believe in making room for long-term visions and creating products with real cultural value. Related to that, products should not have to sell the first or the second year. If there is quality in the design, people will sooner or later take notice. We want to keep growing — Japan, Australia, and the U.S. are already important markets where there is still potential.

How did you celebrate your first ten years?

Elebäck — We paid tribute to our classic collection by launching a jubilee edition of the Tio chair.Martin — The new Tio version is being launched in a ”Hot Dip” galvanised metallic finish — with a natural patina that becomes a matte, grey hue over time. This type of finish is often used for outdoor furniture and lampposts and it is hence ideal for outdoor environments.

Tell us about your other new products launched at Stockholm Design Week.

Martin — Conference table Colossus is extremely solid with a base that can support massive table tops. The base of the table is more like a piece of infrastructure than a component. I felt the world was about to fall apart and we needed big tables that bring lots of people together. Furthermore I created the Waiter and the new Waiter XL from the user’s perspective: it was an opportunity to develop a product adapted to the day-to-day needs of waiters and their patterns of movement. There’s something majestic about high-backed chairs, they have a sort of a regal feeling while being private at the same time. So we’ve created Jig Easy Chair in a new high-back version.
Elebäck — And, last but not least, there is also the small, quite charming MP Trolley. At Stock-holm Furniture Fair, we show the new products in a virtual showroom — an excellent tool for architects.

Chris Martin and Magnus Elebäck.
The Tio Chair.
The Walter XL Armchair.