Classic Swedish Interiors

Classic Swedish Interiors cover.jpg

Classic Swedish Interiors
Lars Sjöberg
Frances Lincoln 2010

One distinct style of Scandinavian interior has not, as yet, been discussed on this site - the Classic Swedish interior - a style that looks back to the 18th century for inspiration. 

In the muted colour schemes and the surprisingly simple, often sparse, interiors of the 18th century, with stripped wood floors and blinds or shutters rather than curtains, you can see elements of design that are very modern or, rather, to put it more rationally, you can see ideas, styles and forms that have been appropriated by modern designers.

Classic Swedish Interiors, published by Frances Lincoln in 2010, was written by Lars Sjöberg, a historian and museum curator at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Sweden, Senior Curator in the Department of the Royal Castles Collection.

The book is a portrait of eight historic buildings Sjöberg has owned and has restored … an amazing property portfolio in any terms. Clearly, his approach to these buildings is as a conservationist - revealing, understanding and retaining primary features of the original buildings - but he also appreciates the importance of understanding original craft skills - understanding materials such as lime plaster and craft and building techniques used in the 18th century. He uses that understanding to ensure that any restoration is appropriate and sympathetic but he also believes that those skills and that knowledge should not be lost: it is important that both the actual buildings and historic manufacturing and craft skills should survive and should be taken forward for future generations.

That does not mean that he disapproves of all modern manufacturing - Sjöberg was an adviser to IKEA when, in the 1990s, they reproduced historic 18th-century Swedish furniture designs. 

You can see the influence of 18th-century forms in designs by successful modern companies such as Svenskt Tenn and simple striped materials or floral designs, inspired by 18th-century cottons and printed chintz, are still very popular in Sweden. In many Scandinavian homes you can see antiques and classic designs from the 20th century combined in modern interiors.

The amazing photographs in the book are by Ingalill Snitt.