Designer Desire: Al & Lena Eklund

Mosaic of Al & Lena Eklund designs | H is for Home

Al & Lena Eklund are Swedish product designers. Much of their work has a Pop Art feel with it’s bold patterns and bright, contrasting colours. Their designs can be found on lots of different homewares such as trays and coasters, thermometers, oven gloves, egg cosies and storage tins.

Information about the couple was more or less non-existent until in 2012, when a Swedish blogger by the name of Helena Viale seized the initiative and went hunting for some primary research material – she wrote Al a letter!

Al & Lena Eklund
Al & Lena Eklund

Apparently, they met at Beckmans College of Design (which Lens’a mother, Göta Trägårdh, co-founded) and soon after leaving began designing textitles for STOBO – Al’s Ornito is featured in our mosaic above. The couple are much more well known however, for their designs on paper, metal and plastic which they produced in collaboration with Laurids Lønborg (known as ‘Sunny’ to his friends). The email reply went on to say that Lønborg was less artistic than the Eklunds, but was an astute businessman and negotiator with suppliers and distributors.

Lønborg also worked with Gunnar Flørning on the wooden figures of animals… but enough about him, this post is about the Eklunds – perhaps he’ll be the subject of another of our Designer Desire posts!

The Eklunds emigrated to New York for a time in the 1970s where they worked on textile and wallpaper designs. Lena passed away in 2007 after a short illness at the age of 72.

Additional image credits:

Etsy | Flickr



Designer Desire: Lisa Larson

Mosaic of Lisa Larson's ceramic work | H is for Home

Born in 1931, Lisa Larson is a Swedish ceramic designer. She worked for Gustavsberg, under Stig Lindberg, from the 1954 through to 1980 when she branched out on her own working for, amongst others, Royal Krona, Duka, Åhléns department stores and Kooperativa Förbundet.

Larson is probably best known for her small sculptures of animals and children of the world, but we absolutely adore her glazed tiles. The Viking ship at the top right of the mosaic is ours – and we’ve also got an elephant. So, it’s a collection of just two at the moment – but we’ve always got our eyes peeled hoping to happen across more. 🙂 

As you can probably tell, Larson is an animal lover – but she verges on the obsessive when it comes to cats!

Lisa Larson with a collection of her cat figures with a siamese cat on her shouldercredit

If you have a look at the short film below, she has the most beautiful sculpture of a cat which just begs to be stroked – so tactile. If you don’t speak Swedish, you can turn on subtitles by clicking on the left icon (next to the one that looks like a cog) along the bottom panel.

Image credits:
1st Dibs | Etsy | eBay

Forthcoming Attractions: End February 2016

'Forthcoming Attractions' blog post banner

collection of vintage homewares

Here are some of our recent purchases and forthcoming attractions.

vintage brass horse and wooden printers letters

We’ll start with our little equine friend. Mid century brass horses – they’re like buses – we don’t pick one up for years then four come at once! We’ve just sold a lovely pair of similar horses in the web shop this week. This one’s equally stylish. Frederick Weinberg is a name often mentioned in connection with this kind of piece. As with the previous pair, this horse dates from the 1960s era and has a classic Etruscan like form. You’ll also notice some of those lovely vintage wooden printer’s blocks lurking there. We’ve just got hold of another small quantity of letters & numbers. They’ll be heading to our antiques centre space as it’s not really practical to list them all individually on the website… but if you’re after a particular letter or number, drop us a line and we’ll let you know what we have.

Vintage Wiktor Berndt face vase and Riihimaki vase

Next we have a couple of lovely Scandinavian glass vases. The green hooped example is known as a ‘tulppaani’ or tulip vase and was designed by Tamara Aladin for Riihimaki of Finland – and the amber ‘face’ vase was designed by Wiktor Berndt for Flygsfors of Sweden. Both date from the 1960s and the latter is signed to the base.

Antique earthenware cup Antique earthenware cup

We’ll head back a couple of hundred years with the next piece. It’s a small transfer printed cup featuring the tale of Cock Robin. It’s got chips, cracks and the handle’s missing – but it’s such a charming little object. Perfect with a few fresh flowers on a small table, tray or windowsill.

Vintage Rorstrand 'Party' teapot

This vintage tin is really lovely and the condition is remarkable considering it dates from the late 1950s/early 60s. It has a ski and winter sports theme with fabulous illustrations to the lid and sides. It still retains the original label to the underside for a ‘mallow selection’ produced by Elkes Biscuits. It’s the ideal container for cakes or home-made cookies. And if any of our readers out there do happen to own a mid century modern ski chalet… well it’s just perfection!!

Detail from vintage biscuit tin with alpine illustrations

And finally, we have to give a mention to this gorgeous teapot by Rorstrand. It’s not actually a recent purchase, but it feels like a new item to us. We misplaced the lid about 5 years ago. We’d given it up for sure – and it really irked us every time we came across the lidless pot in a storage box. Someone recently ordered a coffee set and as we unwrapped the various cups and plates from their newspaper wrapping, there it was! The little lid with its distinctive pattern peeking out of a piece of paper at the bottom of the box. How it got in there we don’t know – but what a great feeling! Anyway, we thought we’d give it a mention in our recent finds post! We’re always happy to share pictures of this wonderfully designed teapot anyway.

Get their look: Swedish kitchen-diner

'Get their look' blog post banner

White kitchen-diner in Swedencredit

We’ve chosen this lovely bright and airy space for this week’s Get their look post. It’s very clean and contemporary with touches of vintage industrial here and there. It’s predominantly decorated in brilliant white with lots of indoor plants and natural wood finishes. It looks like such a practical and relaxing place to live life. As this kitchen-diner belongs to a house located in Sweden, you won’t be surprised that many of the items featured can be bought from that Scandi stalwart, IKEA.

kitchen-diner furniture & fittings

  1. Picture frame: £6, IKEA
  2. Pendant light: £27.50, The Conran Shop
  3. Coffee maker: from £1,440, John Lewis
  4. Olive tree: £24.99, WaitroseGarden
  5. Towel rail: £3.50, IKEA
  6. Dining table: £130, IKEA
  7. Chairs: £1,120, Voga
  8. Industrial stool: £154.99, Wayfair

The elephant in the room

'The elephant in the room!' blog post banner

Vintage Gustavsberg Lisa Larson elephant tile with mugs of cacti

We’ve chosen this fabulous wall plaque that we bought on Monday as the week’s favourite buy. It’s only Wednesday, but we don’t think we’ll better it in the next few days!

Vintage Gustavsberg Lisa Larson elephant tile

This particular elephant in the room is the work of Swedish designer Lisa Larson – produced at the renowned Gustavsberg factory where she worked for over two decades.

Detail from a vintage Gustavsberg Lisa Larson elephant tile

We love the design – the raised, textured decoration forming the elephant and riders’ decorative costumes. The colourway is very attractive too with gorgeous cool blues and chalky whites.

Detail from a vintage Gustavsberg Lisa Larson elephant tile showing signature stamp

The condition is very good; it has the ‘Lisa L’ stamp to the front of the plaque and Gustavsberg paper label to the reverse. Everything a collector would want.

Detail from a vintage Gustavsberg Lisa Larson elephant tile showing the Gustavsberg label

It joins another one of her tiles in the H is for Home shop – a contrasting yet equally fabulous design in the form of a Viking ship.

Redcurrant cordial

'Redcurrant cordial' blog post banner

Bottle and glass of home-made redcurrant cordial | H is for Home

Our bumper crop of redcurrants from the allotment has so far gone into jelly and a tart.

bowl or redcurrants and jar of granulated sugar

Today I made a bottle of redcurrant cordial or vinbärssaft in Swedish (although when I ran the word through Google Translate it came up with ‘coleslaw’! 😀

redcurrants and granulated sugar in a jam pan

A kilo of fruit only made about 600ml of cordial. It felt like a bit of a waste disposing of all that fruit pulp.

cooked and mashed redcurrants in a jam pan

But once I had that first taste I felt that the profligacy was worth it.

straining cooked and mashed redcurrants in through a jelly bag

It was fruity, tart and sweet, all at the same time – almost like cranberry juice but not at all dry. It’s delicious simply mixed with iced sparkling water, but can also be incorporated into cocktail recipes… and a dash in a glass of champagne is wonderful too!

Redcurrant cordial
Yields 600
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1kg/2.2lbs redcurrants
  2. 200g/7oz granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Rinse & drain the de-stalked redcurrants in a colander
  2. Put the redcurrants and sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan or jam pan
  3. Put the pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely
  4. Using a wooden spoon or a potato masher, squash the fruit
  5. Turn the heat up high and boil for about 5 minutes
  6. Pour the redcurrants into a jelly bag and strain for about an hour
  7. Decant into a sterilised 1 litre bottle
  8. Once opened, keep refrigerated and consume within a week or two
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/