The Scandinavian interior design style has been mentioned previously in a few posts. Now what about some pure philosophy on a day like this? I’ve been contemplating the words of Josef Frank, the “creator”, or may I say father, of the Scandinavian (or Swedish) interior design style. Josef Frank was born 1885 in Vienna and moved to Sweden in 1933, where he started working for the design company Svenskt Tenn and produced numerous design items until his death in 1967. With a pic from Svenskt Tenn is the middle, here’s Josef Frank and some of his designs:
Josef Frank formulated his interior design philosophy (referenced as the Scandinavian or Swedish modern style) in two much quoted articles that appeared in Form magazine in the 30s and 50s. Amongst other things, he stated the following:
The modern dwelling space has white walls. This is the only way to preserve its freedom and enable the introduction of a variety of items without disrupting the colour scheme.
Josef Frank thought too much white in a room gives an unrestfull impression. White walls needs to be combined with colours and patterns for a balance to be created. He also said:
There’s nothing wrong with mixing old and new, with combining different furniture styles, colours and patterns. Anything that is in your taste will automatically fuse to form an entire relaxing environment. A home does not need to be planned down to the smallest detail or contrived; it should be an amalgamation of the things that its owner loves and feels at home with.
One of Josef Frank’s fundamental ideas was that the occupants of a home should enjoy a personal relationship with all the objects surrounding them. Each object should hide a “secret” that makes it special and interesting. All pieces of furniture should be individual “living organisms” with souls of their own. Also, in the Form Magazine of 1958, Josef Frank coined the term Accidentism. He had been asked to write an article, and the result was a scathing criticism of the contemporary stiff modernism. This was his way of making up with the modernism, which was then supreme. He thought it was too standardized and was tired of everything looking the same. The Accidentism theory is based on the idea that we shall personalize our surroundings as if it were the result of an accident:
The living room where you can think freely and harmoniously is neither beautiful nor harmonious, or fotogenique. It has emerged as a result of coincidences, it will never be ready and it can in itself absorb whatever might be, in order to satisfy the holder’s changing discerning.
Now the words of Josef Frank – articulated half a decade ago – do shed light on contemporary Scandinavian style, as well as other contemporary interior trends, don’t they?