The Austrian designer and architect Josef Frank started collaborating with Svenskt Tenn in 1932. Just a few years later, he and the company’s founder Estrid Ericson made their international breakthrough. Even though Josef Frank was 50 years old when he came to Sweden, he is considered to be one of the country’s most important designers of all time. Here we have gathered items and inspiration to decorate the holiday season in the spirit of Josef Frank.
“The monochromatic surface appears uneasy, while prints are calming"
With a strong botanical interest Frank developed his own floral print already in his youth. Favourites like lawn daises, tulips, roses, bindweed, forget-me-nots, violets, lily of the valley, crocuses and grape hyacinths were blended with pure fantasy flowers, frequently illustrated with a light touch.
With his prints, which were often based on the colours and forms of nature, in almost imperceptible repetition, Frank wanted the observer to feel freedom and a change of pace even in confined rooms:
“The monochromatic surface appears uneasy, while prints are calming, and the observer is unwillingly influenced by an underlying slow approach. The richness of decoration cannot be fathomed so quickly, in contrast to the monochromatic surface which doesn’t invite any further interest and therefore one is immediately finished with it.”
In Svenskt Tenn's range today, there are several candle holders designed by Josef Frank. In the 1950s, he created, among other things, the classic candlesticks “Slingan” (the loop), “Sten” (stone), “Pelare” (pillar) and “Klöver” (clover), as well as the tall candelabra in lacquered wood and polished brass. The candelabra is only sold during the holiday season at Svenskt Tenn, and here on the right we see it in an interior from the 50s, in the store on Strandvägen 5 in Stockholm.
Josef Frank represented a freer, more artistic style ideal and he developed his own type of modernism where values like comfort, hominess and a wealth of colour were at its core. He resisted limitations and models for his furniture and textiles came from across all boundaries both in time and space. He perceived tubular steel furniture as a threat to humanity. On the contrary he wanted to include nature’s colours and forms in his interiors to be able to breathe and exude freedom even in closed rooms. For the same reason he preferred furniture that people could see through. A chair should have an open back and a cupboard should be on legs that were so high that one could distinguish the borderline between the floor and the wall.
About Josef Frank
Josef Frank's "Spider lamps" are characterized by the naked, visible light bulbs - a wink to the Art Noveau era and the birth of the electric lamp.
Josef Frank began designing stools for his own company Haus und Garten in the mid-1920s. During his active years he created about thirty different variants.
Already as a child, Josef Frank had a strong botanical interest, and as a designer he expressed this by composing his very own flora.
Josef Frank and Estrid Ericson were fond of map prints, and Josef Frank created a total of four during his years at Svenskt Tenn.
Give your home a warm and comfy expression with Svenskt Tenn’s timeless selection of rugs by Josef Frank.
Chair P4’s and P5’s original sketches are preserved in Svenskt Tenn’s archives, and are manufactured today with the same technique as then.
Coffee table 2139 combines the round shape with Josef Frank’s typical coamings. Learn more about the coffee table and the history behind it here.
The Hortus pot in glass is manufactured at Reijmyre glassworks in Östergötland, and seven craftsmen are involved in the process from start to finish.
The candle holder is classic and timeless in its form, and has been part of Svenskt Tenn's range for almost 70 years.
Josef Frank's floor lamps 2431, 2548 and 2368 have been given nicknames such as ”The San Francisco lamp”, ”The Crutch” and ”The Camel”.
During World War II, Josef Frank went into exile and travelled from Sweden to New York. There he created an outstanding collection of prints.
Vänskapsknuten has become a classic in Svenskt Tenn’s range, both due to its form and its meaning. Here you can read all about the history.
Josef Frank was inspired by the material world of East Asia and made use of rattan, bamboo and other materials, which recur in a number of his designs.
Josef Frank used colours and patterns, included both high and low, and did unabashed borrowing from various cultures and eras.
Svenskt Tenn's range includes, among other things, five glass vases designed by Josef Frank; all in different sizes and with undulating shapes.
"Mirakel" (Miracle) is one of Josef Frank's earliest prints, created during the latter half of the 1920s. It is adorned with large-scale fantasy flowers, winding lianas and a sea of dots.
The smallest house Josef Frank designed is Villa Carlsten; a small but significant architectural construction.
When Josef Frank corresponded with his friend Dagmar Grill in 1947, he was inspired to create thirteen fantast houses, which in many ways came to embody his vision as an architect.
Josef Frank has had an enormous impact on the history of Swedish design. The Austrian architect is considered to be one of Sweden's most important designers of all time.
Josef “Pepi” Frank’s botanic designs mix real flowers such as tulips, forget-me-nots and lily of the valley with plants and fruit motifs, inspired by different places and cultures of the world.
A timeline depicting 95 years. As long as Svenskt Tenn has been present on the Swedish design scene.
Josef Frank had his own philosophy regarding how to design a comfortable chair. It should not be the centre of attention, nor should it be regarded solely as a seat, but rather exist to serve a higher purpose.
It’s now 85 years since the arrival of one of Sweden’s best-known designers, who enriched his new home country with innovative designs, vibrant patterns and timeless interiors.
Josef Frank’s many print designs mix favourites such as tulips, forget-me-nots and lily of the valley with meandering lianas, grapevines and fruit motifs.
Patterned black textiles and dark furniture by Josef Frank are displayed together with the Dagg vase by Carina Seth Andersson, in solid black colour.