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Sven Markelius

Biographies
Sven Markelius

*  1889 Stockholm
† 1972 Stockholm


The Swedish architect and designer Sven Markelius was born in Stockholm in 1889. A leading pioneer of Swedish functionalism, Sven Markelius studied at the Polytechnic and the Art Academy in Stockholm until 1915 before serving an apprenticeship in Ragnar Östberg's architectural practice. During that period, Sven Markelius also collaborated on designing the façade of Stockholm Town Hall. The first works Sven Markelius produced on his own were inspired by Neo-Classicism. However, the work of Le Corbusier and the new ideas emanating from the Bauhaus induced Sven Markelius to turn to Modernism. For the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition, Sven Markelius designed several buildings in the Modern style. He also designed an interior, for which he designed a simple, functional desk, with slanting filing compartments on one side. That same year, 1930, Sven Markelius also designed a swing chair with a tubular steel frame and leather-covered seat and back. In 1931 Sven Markelius built a student dormitory at the Stockholm Polytechnic. Between 1932 and 1934, Sven Markelius was hard at work on the Hälsingborg Concert Hall, for which he also designed functional, stackable seating. Sven Markelius also designed the Swedish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, for which he earned international acclaim. In 1945 Sven Markelius was appointed to the Buildings Committee at the United Nations and was a member of the Art and Buildings Committee responsible for the UNESCO Building in Paris. After the second world war, Sven Markelius was also active as an urban planner in Stockholm; from 1944 until 1954 he was head of the Stockholm urban planning office.