Design Classics: Josef Frank Patterns

Design Classics: Josef Frank Patterns

Dabney Frake
Sep 17, 2012

Joseph Frank is best known for the hundreds of textile and wallpaper patterns he designed while at the Swedish studio Svenskt Tenn. Inspired by different time periods and cultures, his designs are vibrant, organic, and full of movement. In today's homes, they often provide small splashes of pattern and color, or boldly cover entire walls and furniture.

Although initially trained within the rigid confines of classical architecture, Joseph Frank later embraced a design philosophy based on freedom, lack of constraint, and inclusivity. His 20th Century treatment of interiors — which involved mixing disparate styles, colors, patterns, and textures — was new to Sweden, whose design world at the time took a more rational and less personal approach to planned environments.

Joseph Frank wanted people have a more visceral connection to their homes. He believed that if something was beautiful and well-made, and you loved it, then it belonged. Layers of multiple patterns? No problem. Antiques and new furniture combined? Bring it on. In fact, the more dramatic the contrast, the more pleasing the end result. Frank called this harmony through randomness "Accidentism."

This series of photos show how Frank's patterns combine with other elements to create interesting and beautiful rooms.

1. Joseph Frank wallpaper and fabric layered on top of each other. via Lisa Mende Design
2. A single pillow in a bright, fluid pattern is a nice contrast to the stark whiteness of the room. via Skona Hem
3. A nice combination of Frank's floral pattern, stripes, mid century furniture and a chesterfield sofa; on paper, it shouldn't make sense, but it does. via Scout Holiday
4. A roman shade in a lush, botanical print brings the outside inside. via Skona Hem.
5. Fully wallpapered walls make for welcome drama in this 1890s farmhouse. via Never Ending Projects

6. Fabric roman shades paired with rattan chairs and metallic table base. via Lisa Mende Design
7. Neko Case chose a Josef Frank patterned sofa for her unique Vermont farmhouse. via Our Empty Nest
8. More strange bedfellows happily co-existing. via Interior Design Files
9. Joseph would have approved of this mix. via From the Right Bank
10. A few strong red statements against a neutral backdrop. via From the Right Bank

11. Pattern upon pattern upon pattern. via Sköna Hem
12. A Josef Frank print brightens up an all-white kitchen. via Sköna Hem
13. Love the pops of neon on the chairs. via Sköna Hem
14. Bold choices make for an interesting room. via David Report
15. The upholstered sofa is the main focal point of this room. via From the Right Bank

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(Images: as credited above)

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