Like many talented industrial designers of his generation, Terje Ekstrøm had one foot in crafts and the other in industry.
Graduating from Oslo’s National College of Art and Design in the late 1960s - Ekstrøm had a background as a cabinet maker and upholsterer, later combining his design approach with his deep passion for craft.
Ekstrøm’s work reflected the radical ideas of a new generation of designers who wanted to contrast the aesthetics of Scandinavian design with a more disruptive approach to furniture and objects - his Ekstrem Chair is a great example of their rebellion.
Referencing the designer’s name, the design follows the principles of the radical freedom movement of the time and the result was a truly unique and singular piece of modern art.
Considered as Norway’s first postmodern design, the ‘Ekstrem’ chair, by Terje Ekstrøm is enjoying a renaissance in the worlds of fashion and design.
Unchanged since its launch in 1984, this reissued design has been still holds space within the modern home, where it continues to make a statement.
A pioneering designer, Ekstrøm initiated new vitality and independence into the Norwegian design scene of the 70’s & 80’s, a time of significant cultural change. Representing a new guard of designers, he challenged the ideals of traditional Scandinavian design.
The prototype for the Ekstrem chair was ready in 1972, but it took 10 years before any furniture producer was willing to produce it. Before the 1980’s, furniture made in Norway had to be functional and easy to produce. The 80’s represented a time of greater economic power which breathed new life into the furniture industry, the Ekstrem in many ways is symbolic of this.
‘Designers sought to dissociate from ideologies and develop a freer language of form that was less committed to convention,’ observes design historian Denise Hagströmer in the book Ekstrøm Extreme.
'Designers sought to dissociate from ideologies and develop a freer language of form that was less committed to convention.'
With an arrestingly original squiggly shape, the chair has a playful and organic form that still wonderfully retains its functionality. With a surprising level of ergonomic sophistication, the design is more than an eccentric throwback to the 80’s era, with clever geometrics at play.
Constructed from two mirror-facing steel frames, padded with polyurethane foam, it provides a high-level of comfort, with multiple possibility seating options. With an undulating form, the chairs playful name means ‘Extreme’ in Norwegian and is also a play on the designer’s name and ‘radical’ design principles.
Described as a ‘no-limit sitting experience’ it allows for the body to sit or lounge in many ways, from traditional posture, front to back and sideways.
Characterized by an eclectic search for originality - the chair garnered international success and achieved its iconic status due to its unique visionary qualities.
A singular piece of modern art, it can find a new interpretation every decade - With an aesthetic and construction that are as modern today as it was when it was first imagined.
The Esktrem Chair and Cappelen Dimyr 01 seen in the home of Scandinavian stylist - Pernille Teisbaek.