1917 Voss, Norway
1999 Bærum, Norway
Torbjørn Afdal (1917-1999) is remembered as one of the most prolific and well-respected Norwegian designers of the postwar period. Born in 1917 in the Voss region of Norway, Afdal studied at the National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, graduating in 1946. He was taken on as a designer by Bruksbo Tegnekontor (Bruksbo Drawing Office), eventually becoming the company’s top designer.
Afdal’s Krobo Bench (1960) was an instant success in Norway, perhaps because its ultra-minimal aesthetic rendered it uniquely flexible; this was the bench that could be anything you wanted it to be. Afdal also designed liquor cabinets and dry bars, including Bacchus (1955) and, more famously, Times (1960s), a rosewood liquor cabinet on castors with subtle brass detailing. Afdal’s other creations include the Hunter Lounge Chair (1962) and the Minerva Office Chair (1965).
Many sources state that Afdal’s Form Dining Set (1959) was awarded the gold medal at the So Wohnt Europa furniture fair in Munich, but Pamono’s editors are still working to confirm this. While many vintage dealers list either Bruksbo or Mellemstrands Møbelfabrik as Afdal’s manufacturers, the labels appear together and should be considered one and the same company.
Afdal’s designs were collected by US First Lady Jackie Kennedy for the White House, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, and Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.