Josef Frank, architect, designer and artist (1885-1967)
The Fashion and Textile museum in London is currently holding the first UK exhibition of the work of Josef Frank (1885 – 1967), who is considered to be one of Sweden’s most influential designers. Bold, vibrant, botanical prints characterise the work of the architect, designer and artist and his colourful take on modernism is on trend today. The above room set, from the Josef Frank exhibition with its botanical prints and greenery, wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary interiors magazine.
Frank was born in Austria and studied architecture in Vienna. He founded his own practice after the First World War and established Haus & Garten, a design and furnishings company. He left Austria in 1933 to escape Nazi discrimination and moved to Sweden. Unable to find work as an architect he was approached by Estrid Ericson, the founder of the internationally renowned interior design company, Svenskt Tenn, who admired his designs and asked him to work for the company. This was the start of a working relationship, which lasted 30 years.
Frank believed that a home should be a comfortable, cosy place to live and his designs injected a pop of colour into the Swedish modernist movement. The uplifting effect of the vibrant colours and botanical designs bursting with insects and birds was in stark contrast with the mood and turmoil of the interwar and Second World War.
The exhibition features over 120 of Frank’s designs and include a large selection of his watercolours. These are some of my favourites:
One of Frank’s earliest designs, Fruhling 1925 – 30, a delicate block print with deep red tree trunks and blue leaves.
An illustration for Frank’s design,Window (1943-45), depicting common plants.
My favourite, Rox and Fix (1943 – 45), featuring hills inspired by Chinese ink paintings and large fig trees.
One of Frank’s vibrant designs, Mirakel (1925-30).
Josef Frank’s designs are still in production at Svenskt Tenn. You can see more of his work here.
The Josef Frank exhibition is at the Fashion and Textile museum in London until 7th May 2017.