The company started as a small carpentry, making bathroom furniture, in Tenhult Sweden in the 1950s.
1978 Gustav Ragnar, sold the family holiday cottage on the island Öland, and purchased the small carpentry.
He did not know what to sell, so he named the carpentry to Functional Products AB. Gustav’s background was as an engineer at a large company that was manufacturing doors. In addition, he was host in the Swedish church on Sundays.
With his background it became obvious to sell and produce customized doors and glass-partitions as well as church-interiors.
With increased self-esteem, the company was renamed to Ragnar Inredningar AB.
Soon Ragnars became an appreciated supplier of custom-made fittings.
Examples in Stockholm worth mentioning are Glass partions in Sturegallerian, the interiors of the Pleni Hall in the House of Parliament and Interiors in the Modern Museum. On the export market Ragnars made customized shop fittings for international brands such as H&M and Lindex.
OFFICES WITH CORPORATE IDENTITY / THE PERFECT MATCH
In the late 90’s, the famous IT boom arose with IT-companies wanting to express their own unique corporate-identity. Ragnars skills to manufacture bespoke furnitures and fittings, in all possible constructions and materials, became the perfect match.
By welcoming and taking on big challenges, competence grew. Gustav’s son Johan took over the lead. Still honoring Gustav Ragnar’s core-values that “Everything is Do-able”.
CORNELIS J JANSSEN CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT ORREFORS KOSTA BODA
Year 1999 Cornelis J Janssen, a renowned concept-creator, was in charge of the opening of Orrefors Kosta Bodas new flagship store on Madison Avenue, Manhattan. The design for the shopfittings were very complex including molded components designed to withstand different humidity through boat constructions.
Cornelis visited many carpenters to find someone who could and dared the challenge. Cornelis described the process this way “It became an easy selection. Only Ragnars was daring”. The mission was to: design, manufacture and install the shopfittings in New York.
During the installation, Cornelis invited Johan to breakfast at a café on the Upper East Side. He saw the potential in Ragnars as a brand. “You are so good at making furniture and interiors, why not creating your own products and build your own brand? This was the beginning of a creative, exciting and successful collaboration between Cornelis and Johan.
DO OR DIE
The 90’s famous iT-boom was followed by an IT-crash in the first years of the new millennium and the market for furnitures and fittings ended up in ”free fall”. Ragnars management realized that “Desperate situations call for desperate measures”.
The company´s business model was no longer valid and the conclusion was to follow Cornelis advice to develop new products and create a new brand. The Ragnars brand was founded by Johan Ragnar in the year 2000.
Johan created new designs (while listening to Linkin Park) inspired by minimalism. Cornelis developed a new approach to market-communications which was unique to the furniture industry. Cornelis described this as a time characterized by great enthusiasm and creativity.
Ragnars.Work R5 was launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2001. The design-expression was the opposite of other brand’s product portfolio.
The design was rectangular and geometric instead of organic with several radii. Electric height adjustable bases was slim and didn´t look like it was electric height adjustable at all. Storage could be up to 2 meters long with sliding doors. Details and forms were minimalistic, rectangular and graphical. Someone, at the fair, called Ragnars.Work an expression of anti-design. In our opinion, that´s a compliment.
Ragnars.Work R5 became the fair’s most talked about success that year. It was a perfect start for the new brand.
Ragnars.Work has been selected in many spectacular projects. Some examples are the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Saudi Arabia, the Oslo Opera House and the Swedish Embassy in Washington.
In 2006, Ragnars.Collaborations was born. Collaboration is a way to avoid stagnation and continue to develop new designs. Seeing things with the help of others that you would never have seen on your own.
An interesting collaboration, with a high artistic level, was created when the world-famous artist Ulrica Hydman Vallien painted artistic motifs on the fronts of the R5 Work.Cabinet Slide. Other examples of collaborations are Choices with Metropolis Arkitektur and E5 with Spectrum Arkitekter.
LAMMHULTS DESIGN GROUP
In 2016, Ragnars was acquired by Lammhults Design Group. A company that is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. This means that Ragnars has entered a new adventure. New stories will be written about bold initiatives, successes and challenges.
Gustav Ragnar’s motto will continue to be a guiding light in the company’s future “Everything is do-able”.