Sigvard Bernadotte (07.06.1907 - 04.02.2002) was the second son of King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret, and through his mother the great-grandchild of the English queen, Victoria. Although born prince he lost his title when he married his first wife, Erica Patzek, a commoner. He was given the title of Count by the Great-duchess of Luxembourg Josephine-Charlotte, daughter of his aunt Astrid, Queen of Belgium. In later years he attempted in vain to get his royal title back but settled for just asking to be called Prince Sigvard Bernadotte.
After studies in political science and art history at the University of Uppsala he started his design education at Konstfackskolan (Arts and Crafts’ School) which was at the time still called the Royal University College of Fine Arts, in Stockholm. He studied ornamental arts with Olle Hjortzberg but his first interest was that of the theatre and studied stage design in Munich. He subsequently did some stage work in Berlin and designed a number of posters and stage designs and art directed three Swedish films. Impressed by the work of US industrial designers such as Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy and Walter Dorwin Teague, whom he visited in the early 30s, he once again directed his talents and interests in design. He was a frequent visitor to Denmark where his sister was Queen. His second wife Sonja Robbert - a talented Danish fashion designer and artist - was yet another link with Denmark. He had a long design contract with Georg Jensen for whom he designed mostly silverware. The quality of that work was recognised by the New York Metropolitan Museum which holds a number of them in its Permanent Collection.
Before starting his own design office in Stockholm he was associated with Acton Björn in Copenhagen (see below). He also designed for Rosenthal. He was co-founder of the Swedish Industrial Designers Society (SID) and for several years (1961-1963) President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) where he had served on the board since 1957.
He published his biography in 1975 under the title: “Krona eller klave” (”Heads or tails”) and the Swedish editor Forum published in 2006 Tove Gyllenstierna’s “Designprinsen Sigvard Bernadotte” (”The design prince Sigvard Bernadotte”). Neither has yet been translated. Sigvard Bernadotte was born in Ekerö (Drottningholms Castle) and passed away in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2002.
More about Acton Bjorn & Sigvard Bernadotte Partnership.
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