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Press Release   •   Dec 16, 2015 15:52 UTC

It is with great sadness that Kasthall announce the death of chief designer Gunilla Lagerhem Ullbergfollowing a prolonged battle against cancer. During her 28 active years in the company, Gunilla made a significant design statement both in Sweden and internationally. Despite her severe illness Gunilla worked with Kasthall’s design and figuration to the very end.

"It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg after a long struggle against cancer. During my first year at Kasthall I had the privilege to work with her and share her extensive knowledge. Gunilla has personalised Kasthall’s design philosophy which we will maintain and carry forward into Kasthall’s future," says Eva Boding, CEO of Kasthall.

In 1987 Kasthall was in the need of a new designer who could take responsibility for the artistic development of the company. Through recommendations from The Stockholm School of Design, Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg, who was then 32 years old, was approached and a new era in Kasthall’s history began.

During Kasthall’s first 70 years, the focus was on industry , technology and craftsmanship. Designers without these qualities had a hard time acquiring respect for their ideas. Gunilla’s knowledge of early design and textile techniques, combined with modern use of yarns and colours, took the company to an international level and changed it’s history.

Gunilla used influences from the great fashion houses by creating and reproducing the fashion industry’s fast cycles into something durable in Kasthall’s rugs. In Gunilla’s way of thinking, rugs were fashion. She commented that Kasthall’s rugs were based on tradition, however this should be constantly renewed, to take tradition and turn it into something new: cherishing the old and creating something new.

The challenge of outsmarting the machines and finding new ways to create designs was something that motivated rather than limited her. Gunilla found new ways to create designs and develop weaving techniques with new materials and combinations, rather than being satisfied with conventional techniques.

Numerous of Kasthall’s classics designed by Gunilla were inspired by our Scandinavian origin, with a feeling for nature, the seasons and the company’s traditional craftsmanship. Nature was a great influence to Gunilla’s latest design for Kasthall, which will be launched in February 2016 during the Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg’s inquisitiveness and need to experiment, combined with her sense of colour, material and technique are some of the reasons why she became so respected and won multiple awards through the years. The diploma for Excellent Swedish Design in 1991, Excellent Swedish Design 1997, Designer of the Year by Elle Decoration in 2012, among others. Her designs for Kasthall can be seen at such places as the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Embassies, Government buildings and in several private homes around the world.

For more information and images, please contact Hans Hjelmqvist at Grand Relations, phone +46 708 29 56 61, or email

Kasthall has been designing and manufacturing unique woven and hand-tufted rugs since 1889. Our own factory is located since in Kinna, amid the traditional textile area in western Sweden, where the production still occurs. Over the years, Kasthall has become one of the world leaders in the design and manufacture of carpets, and is now represented in 30 countries with a showroom in Stockholm, Milan and New York. Part of the secret is that we own our own production and thus control the entire manufacturing process. Another is our consistent focus on design and development.

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