We’re back in Scandinavia for this week’s Designer Desire subject matter. Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist (1925-1997) was a Swedish furniture designer and architect.
Arguably, many of her furniture designs have a distinct, feminine feel with their organic, curvaceous silhouettes. For example, her Paradiset range that she produced in the 1950s for department store, Nordiska Kompaniet (NK). The line consisted of Little Eva, Big Eve, Small Adam, Great Adam, Uncle Adam, The Sofa, The Purple Paradise, the Lustgården chaise longue and Fikonlövet footstool.
In the 1960s, she designed the Charlotte dining set for Finnish design firm, Asko and the Skrindan range for OPE Möbler.
Born in St Petersburg, Mari Simmulson (1911-2000) was an Estonian-Swedish ceramic designer. After art school in Tallinn and Munich, she first went to work for Arabia in Finland. From there, she emigrated to Sweden producing designs for Gustavsberg between 1945 & 49 before moving on to Upsala Ekeby until 1972.
She primarily produced plates, plaques, vases and small sculptures. Like Laila Zink, who we featured in this series a couple of weeks ago, a recurring motif in Simmulson’s work was beautiful, almond-eyed women and animals such as birds, cats and fish.
Her work is surprisingly affordable and is often available on Etsy and eBay.
We’ve not really featured any artists who specialise in glass so far in Designer Desire but that is about to change with this mosaic of work by Erik Höglund.
Best known for his people decanters for Kosta Boda (where he worked for 20 years), Höglund had a long and industrious career designing all manner of art glass. From the smallest coin-sized sun catchers to large-scale candelabra.
His decorative pieces are colourful and playful with organic, flowing forms. Many of them are designed to interact beautifully with light in some way – be it electric, fire, candle or the sun.
We have a few favourite pieces amongst this selection – perhaps the fabulous mid century modern fire-screen just edges it – or maybe that gorgeous ceiling candelabra. Tough choice!
There are always quite a lot of his works available for sale online – from just a few pounds to thousands & thousands. As a starting point, check out Etsy and eBay.
Born in 1931, Anita Nylund is the daughter of the late Gunnar Nylund, Artistic Director of Rörstrand. Her grandfather Felix was a Finnish painter and sculptor, so she’s from a great artistic pedigree.
She studied at Otte Skölds Målarskola in Stockholm and then on to Paris and Florence. On her return to Sweden, she began working as a ceramic designer at Jie Gantofta where she produced a plethora of often folk-inspired designs.
The patterns included ‘Vår lilla stad’ (Our small town), ‘Familjen Pepparsson’ (Pepper family), ‘Prisma’ (Prism), ‘Cookie’ and ‘Janssons frestelse’ (Jansson’s temptation). They decorate plates, platters and serving dishes, salt & pepper shakers, salt pigs, butter dishes and all manner and size of storage jars.
Examples can be found readily on eBay and are still fairly affordable for the time being. Definitely one to watch!
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.
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.
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!
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.