Karl Malmvall has designed a step ladder beautiful enough to be placed on the wall as a piece of decoration, rather than to be stoved away in a dark closet.
There is even a small hook included for the purpose, so that it always can be within reach. Step was awarded in 2011 as best furniture piece of the year by the design magazines Wallpaper and Swedish Elle Decoration. Step Mini is a step stool that also can be used as a folding chair. Like its larger cousin ‘Step’ step ladder, the Step Mini step stool is supplied with a specially designed hook for wall-mounting, allowing it to always be within reach.
Foldable step ladder in solid beech/oak wood. Supplied with a hook for wall-mounting. Dimensions folded: W 45, H 132, D 5 cm (W 18", H 52", D 2"). Unfolded: Platform height 66 cm (26"), total height 126 cm (50"), depth 77 cm (30").
Foldable step stool in solid beech/oak wood. High gloss lacquer. Supplied with a hook for wall-mounting. Dimensions folded: W 47.5, H 96, D 4.5 cm (W 19", H 38", D 2"). Unfolded: Seat height 45 cm (18"), total height 81 cm (32"), depth 61 cm (24").
It was certainly no accident that Karl Malmvall became a furniture designer. He more or less grew up in Karl Andersson & Sons’ furniture factory in Huskvarna, a firm started by his grandfather and for which his own father designed furniture. After studying at the Carl Malmsten school in Stockholm and the Aarhus architectural college in Denmark, Karl was discovered by Gillis Lundgren who was one of Ivar Kamprad’s closest collaborators. This resulted in two decades of working at IKEA, initially at the furniture giant’s design office in Switzerland and thereafter in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The years that he spent at IKEA stimulated an interest in the practical details of design that few designers devote much attention to: creating a product that not only works well but that is also well adapted to manufacture and distribution. The centimetres and millimetres and the constructional details that result in a product being more easy to handle in the factory one has chosen for its production and that means that it fits into a container that will freight it to the resale outlet. This interest recurs in his fascination with folding chairs, one of the most practically oriented of all furniture designs. Over the years Karl has acquired a notable collection of such items and it was the prototype of a folding chair that he presented on the occasion of his first meeting with Design House Stockholm’s founder and managing director Anders Färdig.
On that occasion Karl also took with him in a cardboard box a folding pair of steps for use in the home. The steps were so stylish that they did not need to be hidden away in a cupboard when not in use but could be hung on the wall as a decoration. For Anders Färdig this was love at first sight and the steps, retailing under the name Step, has won prizes as Furniture Item of the Year in both Elle Decoration and British periodical Wallpaper, as well as featuring on Oprah Winfrey’s wish list and, for several years, appearing on the MoMA store’s list of bestsellers. Design House Stockholm has now started to manufacture the folding chair from the first meeting between Karl Malmvall and Anders Färdig, a smaller sibling of Step.
Since 2002 Karl has run his own design studio, and been awarded the Excellent Swedish Design Award four times, as well as the Red Dot Design Award.