One of the first “new” textile designers I discovered on our trip was Josef Frank. I use the word new loosely as Josef Frank (1885-1967) is wildly popular in the textile design world, but his work was new to me! On Monday we visited the Svenskt Tenn store in Stockholm, which houses all Frank’s textiles today. Frank’s textile patterns span his entire career as an architect and designer, providing us with glimpses into his varied life; of Vienna in the 1920s; of his collaboration with Estrid Ericson at Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm; of his wartime exile in Manhattan; and of his last years in Stockholm after World War II. Of Frank’s approximately 170 patterns for printed fabrics, about 125 have been printed at least once. Roughly 40 of them are classics – most of them floral patterns – which, although more than fifty years old, have not lost their freshness. It was so inspiring to be in the Svenskt Tenn store and see all the modern applications of these classic fabrics. One could buy his textiles by the yard as one might expect, but they applied his patterns to everything from furniture, sketchbooks, serving trays, pillows, plates, and matchboxes. I took a bunch of photos in the store, and bought a book about him (pictured below).
I was lucky enough to grab one of the few copies in English!
A collage of several of Frank textiles.
The store carries a large variety of his textiles, all hand-printed I believe, for sale by the meter.
A close up – aren’t the colors beautiful?
They brought out any roll of frabric we wanted to see and we got to touch everything.
Frank’s Manhattan print! I bought a small serving tray with this design. LOVE!
Love the blues in this nautical print. So vivid!
Here’s an example of Frank’s pattern applied to a chair. The store carries a large variety of upholstered furniture with Frank’s textiles. I was particularly in love with this chair, but the picture doesn’t exactly do it justice. Their upholstered furniture is made to order so nothing is mass produced. In that way, everything you buy is unique and made especially for you, and therefore incredibly expensive, but you get what you pay for!
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
I love a good thesis tie-in when I can find one. I wish I came across this quote before my thesis exhibition/defense … but I’m sure I’ll use this quote in the future. I’d love to redo that pillow with more beautiful type! 😉 I think my good pal Betsy and I agree on the value of beauty in design, and why it’s so precious. Sadly, it’s not always valued in our field, especially in design education. While I agree beauty on it’s own isn’t always enough, there’s something to be said for the makers of beautiful things. It takes a special sensibility; an emotional awareness combined with the ability to design and communicate. Someone at my thesis show said my exhibition was beautiful, and honestly I think that’s one of the best compliments a designer can receive. I was so touched.
Just tell me something I design is beautiful and I’m yours.