The name Zoegas represented locally -roasted coffee in mid-century Helsingborg, on Sweden’s west coast. My last post looked at the beginning of a collaboration between Zoegas and the MMF workshop.
In 1952, while the old Zoegas coffee shop in the street called Drottninggatan was maintained, the corporate offices of this successful coffee-roasting company moved to a new headquarters in Helsingborg; the firm was incorporated in 1958. The company philosophy seems to have been well ahead of its time. In that new headquarters, Rudolf Zoegas, second-generation head of the firm, asked the architect of the new building to design a “Tranquility Room,” where employees could go to clear their thoughts, so that they could work more effectively. Various artists were commissioned to create works for this new headquarters: a stained glass window, a sculpture over the office entryway, and sculpture of ceramic coffee beans decorating an exterior wall. And rugs, and more rugs, and tapestries were commissioned from the Märta Måås Fjetterström atelier in nearby Bastad.
The family’s third generation took over in the person of Thelma Zoegas, Rudolf’s daughter. Was it she or her father who decided to purchase rugs by Barbro Nilsson and Marianne Richter, and tapestries by Marianne Richter and Marin Hemmingson, another later MMF designer? The family clearly believed in supporting local artists. Like the other art, several of the rugs may well have celebrated the company’s new incorporation. By their dates, others were acquired later.
Textiles by the MMF atelier had by this time also become a marker of corporate achievement: to have one, let alone several of these rugs, was to announce —with great style and beauty—that you were doing very well indeed. For a company which had been started by an immigrant and his coffee grinder, these elegant rugs represented a corporate history of both achievement and a focus on what they realized was important: local service, local jobs, and creating a work environment which included beauty and tranquility.
This was probably a larger collection of rugs than usual from one client, but the willingness to weave to order was not at all unusual. Barbro Nilsson acknowledged that she was very responsive to clients, and willing to reconfigure her rug designs into almost any color requested. Zoegas clearly wanted its rugs to reflect its superior-quality product, commissioning these rugs from the MMF atelier, and specifically requesting a brown tonality in the rug styles they chose.
Zoegas Coffee was sold in 1968 to the Swedish branch of the Nestlé corporation. In 2013, a number of these rugs went up at auction at Bukowskis in Stockholm in their major spring auction.
The following pieces were sold by Nestle, from the Zoegas collection. I have ordered them by order of the years their composition, but don’t know if the company acquired them in this order:
Zoegas also owned two other MMF pieces, both tapestries. These will be shown in my next and final post on this subject.
Bukowskis Spring Modern Auction Stockholm 572, 2013, online catalog.
Moller, Vigo Sten, En bok om Barbro Nilsson, Bokverlaget Trevi, Stockholm, 1977.
Rantala, Anette, “The Coffee Stronghold for sale” in Helsingborgs Dagbladet, Feb 25, 2015 http://www.hd.se/lokalt/helsingborg/2015/02/25/kaffets-hogborg-till-salu/
Please Reference as follows:
Whidden, Anne, “a coffee-colored collection,” theswedishrugblog (November 13, 2015);
http:// theswedishrugblog.wordpress.com; accessed (month/day/year)