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…

 

Scandi-style-marriane-westman

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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Picture This: Affordable Scandinavian Art

I love Scandinavia. And every so often I like to be reminded of the place that I’ve visited often and always admired. Much like your favourite holiday snaps, posters and prints that depict or are at least inspired by Scandinavia become like little windows into this part of the world. Reminders of a trip, a feeling or just simply an aesthetic appreciation of good design.

I already have the Swedish Alphabet Ikea poster (which unfortunately no longer seems to be available). A Wonderful Copenhagen poster and most recently my brother came up trumps and bought me Olle Eksell’s Stockholm palace picture (number 9). And after the research for this post, I think my collection may grow some more…

 

 

Scandi-style-posters

1. Scandinavian Picknick,  £25  2. Scandinavian Mammals, £18.95, 3. Pk3 poster, €17 4. Owl poster, £18.95 5.Retro Kitchen Cooking Pots £10.53, 6. Moomin art print £7.99  7. FIKA poster £24.77 8. Fly to Copenhagen £18.95  9. Stockholm Palace poster £40 10. Little Red Riding Hood Scandinavian print £25

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Sourcing Affordable Scandinavian Style Fabrics in the UK

Established in 1924 by Estrid Ericsson Svenskt Tenn is an interior design shop on Strandvägen in Stockholm. And thanks to designers like Josef Frank, who worked there in the 30’s,  it soon became the most fashionable interior store in Sweden.

On a recent trip to Stockholm I ventured in looking for curtain fabrics and was blown away by the place. I wanted to move in.

SVENSKT TENN

SVENSKT TENN

SVENSKT TENN

Frank’s textile collection was a particular highlight  (his modernist values and willingness to embrace both pattern colour may have gone against the tide at the time but 80years on and his designs are still magnificently relevant).

I must admit though for me it was more like a museum trip as I couldn’t afford anything. The fabric costs an average of £100pm2 and although the craftsmanship and history of the designs do go someway to justifying the price tag, it was simply too much for me. Perhaps if my windows were only 1m2 I may have considered the investment…

Anyhow, I guess what i’m saying is if money isn’t an issue then start there. Otherwise if you want to add a little bit if Scandinavian cheer to a room with both colour and pattern then take a look at these cheaper high street alternatives…

Scandi-style-Scandinavian-affordable-fabric

1. Kauniste Metsa Green Finnish Fabric (£24.95), 2. Almedahls Pomona Fabric (£21), 3. Spira Jaffa Light Turquoise Swedish Fabric (£39), 4. Almedahls Mustard Körsbärsträdgården Scandinavian Fabric (£29.95), 5. Unikko heavyweight cotton fabric (£39), 6. Siirtolapuutarha tyg £42, 7. Picknick fabric (£18 sale price), 8. Pomerans Light Turquoise (£28.50), 9. EVALOTTA (£5), 10. FÄRGKULLA (£4)

 

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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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