Founded in Stockholm in 1995 by Mårten Claesson (b 1970), Eero Koivisto (b 1958) and Ola Rune (b 1963), Claesson Koivisto Rune (or CKR) originally began as an architecture office but soon became a multi-disciplinary design studio.
Early projects for Swedish companies David Design and Swedese, led to work for Cappellini in 2000, and now CKR designs for leading furniture manufacturers globally, such as Arflex, Living Divani, Modus, Offecct, Tacchini and Paola Lenti.
The studio’s diversity is reflected in its list of completed projects – set design for Kylie Minogue (2002), toothbrushes for Franc Franc (2004) and prefab homes for Swedish kit-house manufacturer Arkitekthus.
Add to this the firm’s body of architectural work, which includes Sony Music Headquarters, Louis Vuitton and Gucci stores in Stockholm and the Swedish ambassador’s residence in Berlin and you wonder why Claesson Koivisto Rune isn’t a name dropped more often.
The group’s style changes on a project-to-project basis, although geometric forms are of particular interest. The trio often uses skewed angles in both architecture (Eriksvik house) and products (‘Ghost’ sofa) but has conversely created objects and buildings with an organic quality.
The Sfera building (2003) in Kyoto, Japan, features a monolithic exterior with a cherry-leaf pattern punched through the titanium, while the interior enjoys soft, dappled light.
Critically acclaimed work for Cappellini, such as the ‘Mirage’ bed (2008), has been followed by the ‘Kaleidoscope’ rug and ‘Haven’, a mesh outdoor sofa for Paola Lenti.
New work for Arflex includes the colourful ‘Delta’ chairs and abstract storage called ‘Hillside’.
Pieces for Swedese and Offecct were also released at the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair.
While architecture and furniture make up the majority of the firm’s work, accessories have always been of interest.
The ‘Camp’ clock (1999) for David Design uses simple indentations instead of numbers – shadows providing the only contrast to the all-white form.
Since then, CKR has worked in all materials (glass, timber, metal and plastic) and has designed fabrics and rugs for Almedahls, Våveriet and MMF.
Task lights for Swedish brand,Wästberg, received widespread acclaim, while the ‘Eve’ bracelet, made from polished extruded aluminium, cut to produce myriad shapes, won the 2008 S/Swedish design award.
Claesson Koivisto Rune is a company of quiet achievers. Despite a large body of work, CKR has had little public profile outside of Sweden.
The three men are known for their modest ways, heading a small design team in a central Stockholm studio.
Much of its domestic architecture and design reflects this considered approach, and a tightly controlled aesthetic ensures nothing is over-designed.
Best known for
In 2004, CKR was the first Swedish architecture firm to exhibit in Venice Architecture Biennale’s international section, which brought it world attention.
The colourful ‘Flower’ stool/table for Offecct, from the same year, was an instant hit, as was the faceted monoblock ‘Ghost’ sofa.
The group’s ‘Brasilia’ coffee table for Swedese, from 2002, is rapidly gaining design classic status.