“The monochromatic surface appears uneasy, while patterns are calming, and the observer is unwillingly influenced by the slow, calm way it is produced. The richness of decoration cannot be fathomed so quickly, in contrast to the monochromatic surface which doesn’t invite any further interest and therefore one is immediately finished with it.” — Josef Frank
Josef Frank (1885-1967) is arguably one of the most important Swedish designers of all-time. Frank was born in Austria in 1885 but later adopted Swedish citizenship. Frank was educated in Vienna and was seen as a leading figure in the architecture world for the younger generation in Austria following the First World War. In 1933, Frank fled Nazism in Vienna and moved to Sweden and it was there that his style became synonymous with Swedish modern design. Frank is perhaps best known for the plethora of textile and wallpaper patterns he created while at the Swedish studio Svenskt Tenn.
His designs were inspired by a variety of different periods and cultures, creating diversity among his work but cohesion through his love of pattern. Although his work varies greatly in style, his designs are recognizable and unified through their proclamation of colour, vibrancy and above all, eclecticism. Frank believed in leaving room’s with a sense of history, movement but also practicality (without sacrificing homeliness and comfort), instead of a sense of uniformity. Uniformity was what dominated the modernist movement within architecture during this period of time, which was what Frank strove to rebel against.
Today, his designs are most commonly seen in small doses as splashes of pattern and color in the form of cushions. However his designs are still seen on furniture or even entire walls for the more bold.