Svenskt Tenn: Stockholm's Source for Josef Frank Textiles

Svenskt Tenn: Stockholm's Source for Josef Frank Textiles

Sarah Coffey
Nov 8, 2010

Store History

  • Founded: 1924
  • Founded by: Estrid Ericson
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden

Architect and designer Josef Frank (1885 - 1967) is widely known throughout the world for his vibrant modern textiles, but Estrid Ericson (1894 - 1981) is less of a household name. A Swedish pewter designer, her story is intricately tied to his — she was the Stockholm shopowner who founded Svenskt Tenn, a small business that helped to launch Frank's work on an international scale.

Ericson founded Svenskt Tenn in 1924 as a source for affordable modern pewter goods, but she quickly moved beyond just tabletop and established the store as a vanguard of modernist design in Sweden. 10 years after opening, she reached out to Josef Frank, a Jewish-Austrian architect and designer who was looking for safe haven from the Nazi movement gaining momentum in Europe.

Ericson offered him a place to work, collaborate, and experiment in Sweden. Here's a brief bit of history from the store:

    Josef Frank began working at Svenskt Tenn in 1934 and just a few years later, the Frank/Ericson duo made their international breakthrough. Svenskt Tenn's exhibition room at the World Expositions in Paris in 1937 and in New York in 1939 was completely contrary to the ideal of the time with its bold contrasts in materials, colours and patterns. The duo received a great deal of attention and became, somewhat paradoxically, the model for the expression of Swedish Modernism.

Today, the store holds claim to an archive of 2,000 furniture sketches and 160 textile designs. They continue to sell works by both Ericson and Frank, and they maintain a content-rich website with products, gorgeous photos, and historic information on the collaborators and their influence on modernism — both in Sweden and worldwide. Shown above is a brief selection of what you'll find online:

Children's and Baptism Gifts

Any firsthand experiences with Svenskt Tenn? Let us know in the comments!

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