Since 1924

Svenskt Tenn was founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson, who recruited Josef Frank to the company 10 years later. Together they created the elegant and boldly patterned personal interior design style that continues to pervade the range to this day.

Historia - Svenskt Tenn

History

In October 1924, Svenskt Tenn opens its doors on Smålandsgatan in Stockholm. Only thirty years old, Estrid Ericson, the art teacher from Hjo, invests the small inheritance she has just received from her father in her company.

Together with the established pewter artist Nils Fougstedt, Estrid Ericson wants to offer modern pewter objects at reasonable prices. They produce these themselves in the little workshop behind the store. Pewter has quickly become one of the most exciting materials of the era, competing more with the new glass and ceramics of the time than with metals such as silver and silver plating. Svenskt Tenn quickly gains recognition as an established brand of quality, and establishes a name for itself. In 1925, it receives a gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris.

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Estrid Ericson - Svenskt Tenn

Estrid Ericson

Estrid Ericson turned over a new leaf in Swedish design history when she offered Josef Frank a safe haven in which to live and work in 1934. The Austrian architect and the Swedish storeowner quickly became an unbeatable duo.

Although, it was Josef Frank who designed the furniture and textiles, it was Estrid Ericson (1894 – 1981) who had the eye for how they would best come into their own. Together the two transformed the sober and objective functionalism into something soft and homey. Their version of functionalism was international and sophisticated and it included patterns, colours and objects while still managing to maintain simplicity.

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Josef Frank - Svenskt Tenn

Josef Frank

Josef Frank has had an enormous impact on the history of Swedish design. Despite the fact that he was already 50 years old when he fled the antisemetism in Austria for Sweden and Svenskt Tenn, the Austrian architect is considered to be one of Sweden’s most important designers of all time.

At Svenskt Tenn, Josef Frank received both a unique stage and invaluable help from Estrid Ericson, who was an exceptionally artistically inclined producer. He awarded her by being extremely productive: there are over 2,000 furniture sketches and 160 textile prints signed Frank in Svenskt Tenn’s archives.

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Textile Mirakel

Ann Wall

“One should never imitate a Picasso”. It was with this figure of speech in mind that, in 1979, Ann Wall assumed the position of managing director of Svenskt Tenn after Estrid Ericson.

She arrived at an artistically highly reputed, but administratively old-fashioned, company. Estrid Ericson had served as managing director until she was well in her 80s, and so Wall began her work by carrying out a large number of organisational improvements. Everything was reviewed, ranging from payment routines and stock management, to business hours and marketing.

Gradually, a carefully considered renewal of the product range was carried out. Piece by piece, the foundations were laid for the commercial cultural institution that Svensk Tenn is today. Incidentally, it was Ann Wall who coined the phrase. During the 1990s, Svenskt Tenn experienced an eight-fold increase in sales.

Over time, collaborations were also established with selected contemporary designers and with art and design colleges. When Ann Wall retired after 20 years as managing director, the Beijer Foundation established a design prize in her honour. This was entirely in accordance with the new business concept of “passing on Estrid Ericson’s and Josef Frank’s spirit with a modern twist.”