The Clarity of a Room

Interior from the exhibition the Clarity of a Room at Strandvägen 5

Exhibited at Strandvägen 5 06.02.2024 – 19.05.2024

One should be cautious when creating architecture with furniture and thus disrupt the clarity of the room. To appear pleasant, the room itself must be clearly perceived. [...] Therefore, the piece of furniture must stand on legs that are high enough so that one can discern (or at least sense) the line where wall and floor meet.

– Josef Frank, 1934

Artisan-made sofas and armchairs in vibrant prints. Tables, chairs, and cabinets produced by some of today's most respected cabinetmakers. Since Svenskt Tenn's furniture department opened in 1930, countless classics have been showcased at the store on Strandvägen 5. In the company's archive, there are over 3000 furniture sketches and drawings signed by the architect and designer Josef Frank, along with designs from other outstanding designers that the company has collaborated with over the years.

Svenskt Tenn is turning 100 years old, and in the first major exhibition of the jubilee year, this furniture treasure is highlighted, with never-before-seen pieces by Josef Frank among the new arrivals.

Interior from the exhibition the Clarity of a Room at Strandvägen 5

Svenskt Tenn's Archive and Collections

The Archive and Collections forms a separate department at Svenskt Tenn. Here, curators and archivists work to preserve and manage the company's rich archive, which includes not only drawings and sketches but also pattern designs, letters, notes, and photographs. Original pieces and purchased items from founder Estrid Ericson's time are also preserved. With new collaborations and launches, new information and stories emerge, making the archive a living place that safeguards the company's history, present, and future.

New Launches From the Archive

Every year, Svenskt Tenn launches new furniture and items. Some result from collaborations with contemporary designers, while others are recreated from archive designs. In 2024, the jubilee year, five such pieces are being launched – a blend of designs that have never been shown before and beloved classics now brought back to life.

ARMCHAIR LILJEVALCHS

The Liljevalchs sofa with its matching armchair was among the first pieces that Josef Frank designed for Svenskt Tenn in 1934. They were named after an exhibition at Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm the same year, where they gained attention for their voluminous shape and generous seating depth. Both the sofa and armchair were launched during a time when strict, functionalist furniture dominated the market and have come to represent Josef Frank's aversion to what he called "the Swedish Crafts Association dullness."

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RUG FRANK NO. 20

Josef Frank's personal expression and sense of colours and patterns have given rise to timeless prints. He is well-known for his imaginative, botanical motifs, but when he composed rugs, his philosophy was different. He wanted to present a "real surface" that provides a sense of solid ground. Most of Josef Frank's rugs resemble paved terraces with abstract motifs – flowers and birds are not meant to be stepped on, he believed. Initially, customers did not readily embrace these unconventional compositions, which were more reminiscent of paintings by Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, or Joan Miró. Today, many decades later, they are entirely in line with the times.

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TABLE 2126

Grand design in a small table. Here, Josef Frank used turned spindles and playfully allowed spheres to become a decorative element reminiscent of a classic baroque table. Table 2126 is unusually small, measuring just under 40 centimetres in height. It was designed by Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn in 1951 and was part of the furnishings in Josef and Anna Frank's home on Rindögatan in Stockholm. The table was exhibited in Josef Frank's Memorial Exhibition at the National Museum in 1968 but has not been in production since then. Now, it is relaunched in conjunction with Svenskt Tenn's 100th anniversary in 2024.

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STOCKHOLM CABINET

The Stockholm Cabinet is produced in a limited edition of 100 pieces for Svenskt Tenn's centenary in 2024. It was designed by Josef Frank around 1930-50, with the original sketch indicating that it should be lined with paper. Drawing inspiration from various map cabinets Josef Frank designed during his active years, Svenskt Tenn has upholstered the cabinet with an antique map of Stockholm, drawn by lithographer Heinrich Neuhaus in 1875. The map is exceptionally detailed, with each individual building outlined in the motif.

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TABLE KLÖVER

The prototype for the Klöver Table has been found in Svenskt Tenn's historical archive. The table has many of the typical details for Josef Frank, such as the clover-shaped table surface with inlays, the slightly curved legs, and the sleek elegance of the design.

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