Stool by Hans Kempe

This beautiful stool was designed and executed by the Swedish architect and cabinetmaker Hans Kempe in the early 1960s. The style bears a clear resemblance to traditional Japanese furniture, characterized by a refined simplicity and excellent craftsmanship. It is a piece of furniture to be enjoyed equally with both eyes and hands. Hans Kempe was a member of the HI-group, a Swedish grouping of architects, craftsmen and interior designers, established in Stockholm in 1957 and active until 1972. The group counted around 15 members and was founded as a protest against the throwaway culture of modern life, the overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived and disposable items. The aim of the HI-group – H for Hantverksmästare (cabinetmakers) and I for Inredningsarkitekter (interior designers) – was to create high-quality crafted furniture suitable for serial production. However, for the most part it remained a utopian idea. Their pieces were often much too refined for larger productions. Thus, this stool by Kempe was only made in five examples. The present example is the first of the five.  In 1963 it was exhibited at the Milan Triennale and at a group show by the HI-Group in Munich. The stool is made in solid Cuban mahogany.