Fantasy Interview: Estrid Ericson, Designer Svenskt Tenn

"What makes a place homey?” asked Estrid Ericson. “It is not household items or furniture – it is the atmosphere,” she answered. “Books that are read diligently, potted plants that are well cared for, clocks that tick...” 

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What did she do? In 1924 it was highly unusual for a woman to work, let alone to found a company. Aged 30, pioneering Swedish entrepreneur Estrid Ericson took the bold and courageous leap from her job as an art teacher to head up her own design company, Svenskt Tenn. Still a thriving business today, the interiors shop sings life, infusing sleek Scandi design with vibrancy using rich patterns, bright colours and textures.

How did she do it? Ahead of her time, Estrid’s design ethic fearlessly mixed old and new, high and low. She was something of a magpie collecting stones and shells, real and fake flowers and trawled flea markets for inspiration. She offered a safe haven to Josef Frank, a Jewish architect and designer fleeing Nazi Austria and the pair teamed up to become an unstoppable duo. Whilst a committed modernist he did not follow the rule book either and believed ‘every human needs a certain amount of sentiment to thrive.’ Together they created modern design with personality. 

Words by Daisy Allsup. The Iris Letter May 2016