This Christmas, my favorite read was a book from my gift wishlist: “Start to love design. How to collect Polish industrial art”. The book turned out to be so gripping that I even skipped an annual gathering at one of my uncles. Learning about designers behind the iron curtain developing brilliant yet little known projects in the West felt like reading a crime story. Inspired by the book, I started to scrutinize mid-century and vintage design in my Oslo house. Ladies and gentlemen, to start with - faithful breakfast companion, who transforms easily into an office space too, his highness the Respatex table.
With its brownish top and slim steel legs, this simple, space-efficient and long-lasting piece embodies Dieter Ram’s commandments on good design. The table is special to me since it was the first piece of furniture purchased for my very first own house. I hunted it on Norwegian "e-bay" (finn.no) and arranged picking it up from the seller in her apartment in the hipster district of Oslo, Grünnerløkka. She folded it for me and warned about the heavy weight of the vintage beauty. Believe me, this table is way heavier than it looks. I carried it down the stairs with a friend and drove it to my new home at the edge of the Grorud Valley, an industrial district of Oslo. Upon arrival, after unfolding the table, two surprises awaited.
First, my table turned out to be far from perfect. Two of the legs were slightly uneven and could not be unfolded completely. Somehow, despite this minor aesthetic drawback, the table does not wobble at all. Whether the former owner wanted to hide the defect by folding it before I came, I will never know. Anyway, I've learned not to buy a folded table. If I had known about the defect, I could have bargained.
Second, while unfolding the table I found a factory label saying "Tubular Steel Furniture Factory. A. Grasaasen Ø. Grorud Oslo". Grorud! I felt moved. It was produced in my new neighborhood, and I have taken it back home from Grünnerløkka. What a beautiful coincidence, isn't it?
Respatex tables in Norwegian museum collections
Grasaasen factory in Digitalt Museum
Respatex in Norwegian Wikipedia