Swedish Design Icons: Marianne Westman

Born in 1928 in the Swedish Province of Darlarna (home of the Dala Horse), Marianne Westman is a Swedish textile and ceramic designer.  Westman’s career really began when she joined Rörstrand, a porcelain factory, it was here she produced perhaps her most iconic design ‘Picknick’ in 1956.

Such was her success she became known as  ‘Porslinsmamma’ (china mum) in the factory. Westman’s designs are timeless – superb in their simplicity, often depicting or inspired by ordinary items and surroundings. They’re beautifully executed pieces of art but applied to everyday useful objects. Making functional fun. How very Scandinavian.

You can still get hold of some of the original pieces, Etsy has a fair amount in stock. But thanks mainly to Almedahls (a Swedish textile company) plenty of her designs are still in production today. Röstrand have also reconnected with her too, recently re-launching her ‘Mon Amie’ range – in the same year she celebrated her 8oth birthday in fact. So obviously there is a lot still to choose from, but here are a few of my favourites…

 

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1. Picknick Chopping Board £14.97 (Sale), 2. Pomona coaster 4-pack $26, 3. Almedahls Mustard Körsbärsträdgården Scandinavian Fabric £29.95 p/m, 4. Belle Amie pot stand blue $30, 5. Karringen mot Strommen Tray $32  6. Mon Amie Jar $42, 7. Picknick oil cloth £26.50p/m

 

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Swedish Design Icons: Olle Eksell

Scandi-style-olle-eksell-illustrations

Olle Eksell was a revered Swedish designer and illustrator. Born in 1918 in Kopparberg (the place not the cider) he studied and then settled in Stockholm with his fashion designer wife Ruth. Eksell made his name in advertising, perhaps his most iconic creation being his Mazetti Cacao Eye design, above, developed for the chocolate and confectionery manufacturer and now adorning the walls of many a stylish home (check out his dedicated instagram feed).

His talent extended across several disciplines, advertising, graphic design, illustration and writing and his creations range from the simple and graphic to the fantastical and abstract. He was way ahead of his time, just take a look at some of his illustrative work. I particularly love his depictions of Stockholm, years later they still capture the scene perfectly. They’re a superb balance of precision and crazy.

Scandi-style-olle-eksell-illustrations

I want at least two of them to feature on my newly painted hallway and thankfully that is a possibility as the Scandinavian Design Center continue to sell his work, so take your pick from posters, tote bags, trays or tea towels.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the man behind the art then I recommend you watch this series of interviews with his wife Ruth. There’s also a pretty comprehensive book available which documents both his professional and private practice.

 

 

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