Sigurd Ressell

Norwegian interior and industrial designer Sigurd Ressell (also spelled Resell) was particularly active during the 1950s and ‘60s and is best known for his collaboration with Vatne Møbler, which resulted in the iconic Falcon Chair.

Born in 1920 in Meldal, Norway, Ressell studied carpentry at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft & Art Industry from 1943 until 1947. Sometime in the late 1940s or early ‘50s, Ressell established his own studio, designing for various clients and manufacturers, including Niels Vodder. From 1948 to 1968, Ressell created interiors and furniture for Norwegian furniture brand Rastad & Relling. Notable designs include the 56/1 and 61/1 Chairs for the Bambi Series (1955), the Blinken Armchair (1956), and furniture for the expansion of the Norwegian Parliament (1950s).

During the 1960s, Ressell began experimenting with steel, which he implemented in designs like his Circle Armchair (1960s). In 1965, in collaboration with designer Cato Mansrud, Ressell designed the steel and canvas, safari-style Irafas Chair and Irafas Table for A. Grasaasen. The chair—which is safari spelled backwards—won second place at the Industry Council Chair Competition in 1965 and the Gold Medal at Ljubljana’s Biennial in 1966.

In 1968, Ressell became the chief designer for Norwegian furniture company Vatne, and his seminal Falcon Chair (1970) soon followed. Originally named Blank Vals, the hammock-like chair was the result of a furniture competition for the Industry Council. Vatne began production of the chair in 1971 under the new name. Within two years, Vatne’s sales tripled as Falcon Chairs sold worldwide, particularly in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Australia. Originally produced with a chrome frame, the chair was redesigned with a lighter laminated base in 1974 for easier distribution. Although the chair’s popularity led to copycat versions in other countries—such as the Danish Susperstar Chair—Vatne eventually won the patent rights in court. Today, the laminated version is produced by furniture manufacturer Rybø.

In 1990, Oslo’s Vognremissen Gallery honored Ressell with the exhibition Sigurd Ressell—Chairs for 30 Years.

Ressell passed away in 2010.