18 January 2019
The world’s best Häggbom
It has been called the best armchair in the world – Häggbom by Carl Malmsten. A few years ago, Jerk Malmsten, a grandchild and former owner of Malmstensbutiken on Strandvägen in Stockholm, told the story of how his grandfather’s piece of furniture – designed in 1943 for the civic architect Sven Häggbom in Gävle – became “the world’s best”.
“A travelling salesman from New Zealand came into the shop. His uncle had asked him to look for the most comfortable armchair, while travelling around the world”, Jerk told.
The salesman visited the shop four times in as many years. The first time, he tried all the models before choosing Häggbom. He made a note of the name of the model and disappeared. The next time, he asked directly for the armchair, sat in it and was pleased to find that it was still number one.
At this point, he explained his behavior and mission. He took farewell and disappeared, only to return a year later. This time too, he sat in a Häggbom and with the air of a connoisseur exclaimed: “It’s still the best”. On his way out he said that there were only a few shops left on his list, his mission was almost completed. Then finally, after four years of travelling and testing he made his decision.
“He came to the shop on Strandvägen on a beautiful spring day, sat for a short while in Häggbom and then asked to look at fabrics. He chose a green patterned fabric of good quality. An order was signed for delivery to his uncle in New Zealand. The salesman had finished his mission; he had found the world’s most comfortable armchair.