India Mahdavi interprets Josef Frank’s legacy at Svenskt Tenn
Stockholm Design Week 2022: India Mahdavi and Svenskt Tenn present ‘Frankly Yours’ (until 23 October 2022), an exhibition juxtaposing the company’s iconic prints with Mahdavi’s visual language
During Stockholm Design Week 2022, designer India Mahdavi staged a takeover of Svenskt Tenn’s Stockholm gallery space. Located on the ground floor of the Strandvägen 5 store, the exhibition is titled ‘Frankly Yours’ and sees the Parisian designer experimenting with the legacy of the brand, using iconic prints and objects, as well as new pewter pieces designed for the occasion.
The starting point for the space is Frank’s ‘Vegetable Tree’ print, a multicoloured composition of fruits and flowers on white textile cladding the room’s walls in their entirety. ‘The “Vegetable Tree” print brings us back to the root of life: nature in its purest form,’ comments Mahdavi.
‘I love the fact that vegetables grow on a tree here: it gives this fabric a poetic dimension. In the exhibition, I have put the “Vegetable Tree” all over the walls and the furniture. This allows us to perceive it in a different way and to highlight its beauty.’
Upon entering the room, visitors are immersed in a world of colour: as well as adorning the walls, the bold hues of the Josef Frank prints grace furniture and lighting pieces. Mahdavi injected the interior with still more energising colour, from the velvety purple carpet to the expressive pillows on the sofas.
‘Colours are the consequence of my memory, of my heritage: my Iranian and Egyptian origins, growing up in the United States in the 1960s and living in the south of France,’ says Mahdavi. ‘It is a language that I have come to use fluently. As I see it, colours have conversations. They argue and reconcile.’
For the exhibition, she has also designed a floor lamp based on Josef Frank’s ‘2326’ model, and new pieces in pewter (a material that is at the heart of Svenskt Tenn’s legacy).
The pewter trays, Mahdavi explains, are a tribute to Svenskt Tenn’s founder, Estrid Ericson. ‘At the age of 30, back in 1924, she was already such an example for women: a strong and independent entrepreneur,’ says Mahdavi. ‘The whole project honours the history, the origins and the work made by Svenskt Tenn, Estrid Ericson and Josef Frank.’ §