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Book review: Praktbok about Estrid Ericson and Svenskt Tenn

”You should be untroubled in their furniture as well as in their clothes. /.../One bedroom comfort is the most important. The interior will enhance livsvärdet. Give pleasure./.../ Unfortunately it has been the fashion in home decor: Uniformity is among the worst nonsense I know.” The quote is taken from an interview in 1978 with the then-84-year-old Estrid Ericson, the woman behind Svenskt Tenn. The criticism was directed mainly against the ”buy throwaway ' mentality and certainly also against Ikea, which has become folkhemmets main trend-setter.

In the book ”the Beauty everyday” says Anita L Du Rietz objectively the whole of Estrid Ericson's history chronologically. From growing up in Hjo, studies at the Technical school (now Konstfack) and tenndesignen in the very first workshop, to the row of exhibits. We follow the collaboration with the jewish architect Josef Frank (who escaped from Austria to Sweden in 1933), and out on the purchasing/inspirationsresorna when she has become a successful business executive.

the Cover of ”the Beauty everyday”. Photo: Bruno Ehrs

Svenskt Tenn in 1924, already three years later moved the business to the store at Strandvägen. Where is the than in the day. With similar content and the same logo, but now owned by a foundation.

All this time, Estrid Ericson motto is to only allow to produce or buy the things she herself liked, and to never compromise on the quality. Perhaps it was because she managed. But also because she had not the ambition to expand, and could present the items they sold.

It is a groovy issue with the incredibly beautiful genrefotografier by Bruno Ehrs. They work mainly as stämningsskapare and kapitelindelare at the side of a solid archival material. Estrid Ericson documented everything and this is how many pictures anywhere of the table settings, the decor and old newspaper articles to cave in.

the Furniture designs of Josef Frank, armchair from 1936. Anders jönsson's ”Sitting cat” began to be sold in cast iron in the 1940's, tennvas from 1934 by Björn Trägårdh. Photo: Bruno Ehrs

Ericson and Svenskt Tenn is more than that. Indirectly depicts the entire konstindustrins development during the last century. It touches on the hostilities between the funkisanhängare and hantverksförespråkare. It also provides an interesting insight into female entrepreneurship in the beginning of the last century. Among the few pathways that were just artistic creation, not of prestigious oil paintings, but of everyday objects: vases and dishes (preferably tin), ceramics, and, not least, of textiles (embroidered tablecloths, woven curtains, etc.).

When Estrid Ericson began to make tennföremål in the own workshop, she was part of a female network that was around her when she began to develop Svenskt Tenn. The name was retained but soon included furniture, textiles and lamps of the most different materials in its range. Everything except the plastic.

most had Estrid Ericson over a hundred employees in the workshops and store. As well as many freelance producers or helpers in the many inredningsuppdragen both in and outside of Sweden through the years.

both rumsskapare and entrepreneur is no doubt. But Estrid Ericson, the person is partially shrouded in mystery, even in The Rietz text. There are certainly a few testimonials at the end from the people who met her. Enough, she seems to have been both headstrong and demanding to their employees. But then?

I get so curious. How did she react during the war? When Josef Frank had to leave to the united states? How went the reasoning, then, she without reserve took home items from the cultures of Asia and Africa when the threat from Nazi germany hung over us? Was it a protest?

Had simply wanted to get closer to Estrid.

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