Last week Amy and Seren from the KM team visited the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street, London to check out the first UK showing of Swedish icon Josef Frank’s textile collection.
The exhibition in association with Millesgården, Stockholm showcases Frank’s vibrant fabric designs for iconic Swedish design company Svenskt Tenn. The display also features a number of his previously unknown watercolours and few key inspirational pieces from his peers.
Considered one of the fathers of Swedish modernism, Frank created work with an optimistic energy, using an abundance of colour and pattern to add warmth and personality.
Unlike many of the architects and designers of the modernist movement; that tended to focus on clean lines and primary colours, Josef Frank contrasted with dizzying and dynamic textile designs. Creating elegantly decoupaged floral prints in which species intertwine and multiple types of fantastical flowers grow. It's this fantastical thinking and execution that defined an iconic visual world which is hard not to love. Here are our top five highlights:
1. Dixie Land, 1943 - 1945
Created during Josef’s time as a lecturer in New York in the early 40s. Obsessed with maps at the time, the fresh blue represents the Atlantic and the sunflowers, watermelons and exotic flowers represent the surrounding continents.
A large, boldly printed linen cretonne for its time, Aralia was introduced in connection with the interior design of a house in the fashionable Hohe Warte district in Vienna. Josef Frank and his colleague Oskar Wlach did the house’s interior design. The large leaves in the print are almost the same as those found on the potted Aralia plant.
Many believe the patterns of this fabric are reminiscent of Persian carpets. Although designed in the 40s Teheran wasn’t printed until 91.
4.The Beast, 1930
Inspired by the Medusa heads found in ancient Roman homes used to ward off evil spirits. This pure wool rug is an exotic reversion of this and promises to protect your property!
5. Nippon, 1943 - 1945
As expected, this is Josef’s take on Japanese prints. With bright fantasy flowers that bridge the gap between fantasy and reality.
The Josef Frank Patterns–Furniture–Painting exhibition runs until 7 May 2017 at the London Textile Museum, London