2024-02-06 07:00Pressmeddelande

Stephen Burks Awarded The Bruno Mathsson Design Residency 2024

Stephen Burks, Broom Thing, Berea College Student Craft

Stephen Burks will be the first recipient of the newly established Bruno Mathsson Design Residency. Burks, a prominent American designer, will participate in the residency from May 15 to June 15, 2024, residing and working in a house from 1955 in Värnamo designed by architect and furniture designer Bruno Mathsson, commissioned by Vandalorum’s founder Sven Lundh. The residency offers Burks the opportunity to explore the extensive furniture and manufacturing industry in the Jönköping region, studying Bruno Mathsson's work and delivering a public lecture at the Vandalorum Museum of Art and Design. 

Stephen Burks: I believe the closer the hand gets to the act of making, the more potential there is for innovation. The Bruno Mathsson residency will bring my way of working into conversation with Swedish design history and industrial expertise while questioning who participates in design and who benefits. As the world faces continued global crises, design has the capacity to create more dialogue around more issues for more people. Even today, Mathsson’s legacy is living proof of this.

Stephen Burks, Kida Dining Chair, Dedon, 2023


The Bruno Mathsson Design Residency, initiated to provide international designers time for research, development, networking, and focus, operates within the framework of Vandalorum and the Jönköping region's manufacturing industry. The residency is run by Region Jönköping County and Vandalorum, in collaboration with IASPIS/The Swedish Arts Grants Committee`s International Programme for Visual and Applied Art and Värnamo Municipality, in collaboration with entrepreneur and furniture collector Johan Sjöberg, Bruno Mathsson International, and the Karin and Bruno Mathsson Foundation. 

This year, 43 qualified designers from five continents applied for the residency, with a jury consisting of Dr. Mateo Kries, Director, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; Jenny Nordberg, designer, Röstånga; Magnus Jonsson, Head of Culture, Region Jönköping County; Lennart Alves Gernes, Art and Design Developer, Region Jönköping County; and Elna Svenle, Museum Director, Vandalorum, Värnamo. 

Backegårdsgatan, Värnamo. Ritat av Bruno Mathsson, 1955

About Stephen Burks 

Stephen Burks (b. 1969, based in New York) is a designer and professor of architecture at Columbia University in New York. He studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Product Design at IIT’S Institute of Design, as well as attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. Burks is the first African American to receive the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in product design. Independently and through association with the non-profits Aid To Artisans, Artesanias de Colombia, the Clinton Global Initiative, Design Network Africa and the Nature Conservancy, Burks has worked as a product development consultant in close collaboration with hundreds of artisans in over 15 countries on six continents. He believes in a pluralistic vision of design that is inclusive of all cultural perspectives. His Man Made project bridges the gap between authentic developing world production, industrial manufacturing and contemporary design.  

Burk’s work has been exhibited internationally including the Armory Show, Art Basel/Design Miami, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, MAD Museum of Art & Design, Philadelphia Art Museum, Salone del Mobile, Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale, and the Stockholm Furniture Fair, and the Studio Museum Harlem. He has received various awards, including the Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Professional Achievement Award, the Brooklyn Museum Modernism Young Designer Award, and the United States Artists Architecture & Design Target Fellowship Grant. Burks has also served as a product development consultant global brands like Dedon, Missoni, and Swarovski. 

Stephen Burks, Kida Swing, Dedon, 2020


Stephen Burks, Broom Thing, Berea College Student Craft
Stephen Burks, Kida Dining Chair, Dedon, 2023

The house at Backegårdsgatan, Värnamo, Sweden. Designed by Bruno Mathsson, 1955. Photograph Peo Olsson.
Stephen Burks, Kida Swing, Dedon, 2020

Om Vandalorum

Amidst the fields on the outskirts of Värnamo you will find Vandalorum, a museum presenting the most influential art and design today. A few minutes away, freeway E4 meets highway 27, which together connect Sweden. Vandalorum’s initiator is Sven Lundh and the build-up of Vandalorum is supported by the business families Hamrin, Liljedahl and Svenstig. The buildings, reminiscent of the monumental barn that once dominated the site, are built according to an original concept by the award-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano. One of Vandalorum’s four barns is the home of Smålands Konstarkiv, whose exhibitions primarily highlight artists associated with Småland. Vandalorum's garden is designed by the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.


Administrativ chef, Vandalorum
Malena Sandahl