Svenskt Tenn is the story of two talents that came together to take the design world by storm in 1930's and beyond. It is also a rather lovely store on the waterfront in Stockholm. I have to thank my friend Isabelle for introducing me to this wonderful world of beautiful Scandinavian textiles and design ideas, which are unique to this company and totally inspirational. The words 'Svenskt Tenn' when translated, literally mean Swedish Pewter and here lie the origins of the business, founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson (1884-1981). Having graduated from the Technical School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Estrid specialised in Pewterware design. Everything changed in 1930, when a famous exhibition was staged in the capital. It is well known for introducing the concepts of 'functionalism' and 'standardisation' of style to allow for mass production and increased ease and comfort in the home. It had a great impact on architectural and life style products, the legacy of which is still embraced today. Estrid began to expand and experiment with fabric and furniture design. In 1932, she began her collaboration with a Viennese architect, Josef Frank (1885-1967) and together they created some of the most famous and beautiful designs in the textile world, that are still produced to day.
Josef Frank was born into a reasonably affluent jewish family in Vienna. With a creative mother and a father who was a successful textile dealer, he found himself surrounded by the rich cultural life that was prevalent at the end of Emperor Franz Josef's reign. He went on to study architecture in the austrian capital and his artistic vein began to show when he produced some of his floral patterns as early as 1909, whilst travelling in Italy and working on his dissertation. What started as an 'aside' was to develop into something quite extraordinary, fuelled by his interest in botany and a modern expressionistic flick of the pen. Estrid Ericson had seen some of his work in various journals and wrote to Josef in 1932 asking him for some furniture drawings. Thus a partnership was born that was to last the rest of their lives. Josef and his wife left Austria as trouble began brewing in europe, and arrived in Stockholm a few months after Hitler came to power . From then on he and Estrid worked together and still today in the store, you can find the most wonderful range of stunning fabrics, unusual furniture, jewellery, bags, and kitchenware, all made in this individual style.
The store itself is absolutely wonderful, spacious and colourful with an atomosphere of vintage and modern harmonising together perfectly. There is a charming cafe within the store that has Estrid Ericson's 'atelier' behind glass alongside. The eclectic mix of objects fits perfectly with the style of the store, which has a wide assortment of fascinating objects on display.
You can find out more about Svenskt Tenn by going to their website - www.svenskttenn.se and browse the store on line. For anyone who loves colour, fabric, design and embroidery, it is simply heaven!! Ruby x