Sven Markelius, a Swedish architect and designer, was a major forerunner of Swedish functionalism. Born in Stockholm in 1889, he studied at the Stockholm Polytechnic and the Art Institute, where he took his diploma in 1915. He subsequently served an apprenticeship in the architectural practice of Ragnar Östberg. During that time, Sven Markelius also collaborated on designing the façade of Stockholm Town Hall.
Sven Markelius' architectural designs were initially inspired by Neo-Classicism but the work of Le Corbusier and the new ideas coming out of the Bauhaus converted Sven Markelius to Modernism. In 1930 Sven Markelius planned several buildings for the Stockholm Exhibition and designed an interior, for which he also created a stringentl functional desk with a slanting gallery on one side for filing papers. In 1931 Sven Markelius built a student dormitory at Stockholm Polytechnic.
From 1932 to 1934 Sven Markelius worked on the Hälsingborg concert hall, for which he also designed functional stackable seating. In 1939 Sven Markelius was the architect of the Swedish Pavilion at the New York World's Fair, attaining international recognition for this work. In 1945 Sven Markelius was appointed to the Building Committee of the United Nations and was a member of the Art and Building Committee for the UNESCO Building in Paris.
After the second world war, Sven Markelius was active as an urban planner in Stockholm; from 1944 to 1954 he was head of the Stockholm planning office.