“The richness of decoration cannot be fathomed so quickly”, wrote designer Josef Frank defending his colour and pattern profusion against the ascendancy of Le Corbusier’s diktat that a home was “a machine for living”. Maybe it’s the hallucinations of cabin fever and Jack Frost wrestling your scribe into a scorpion submission hold while he blasts his polar breath in her face, but your scribe dreams of beignets, berets, bodhi trees and bean pods when she looks at the pattern in this beautiful 1940s Josef Frank rya rug designed for Svenskt Tenn, currently for sale at Modernity in Stockholm.
Although the pattern is doubtless more naturalistic than raspberry berets, Josef Frank did believe design should reflect nature’s colours and patterns while providing comfort and domestic joy. His designs for Svensk Tenn have never fallen from favour. (More text after image break.)
Josef Frank was fifty years old when he fled Austria for the safety of Sweden in advance of Nazi annexation of his homeland. Too old to start over? No. The architect and designer was welcomed into the Svenskt Tenn fold by its founder Estrid Ericson, and the legacy of his prolific second act includes two thousand signed furniture sketches and 160 textile designs (and perhaps more that are unsigned) in the Svensk Tenn archive. Enough Frank designs to feed the imagination of your scribe for many years of pleasant dreams once Jack Frost is banished to the outside where he belongs. DJ