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Scandinavian textile design in the period spanning the late 1950s through the 1960s through to the late 1970s can be roughly divided into three broad style categories:
– Stylised designs taken from nature, especially trees, leaves and flowers, as seen in the work of textile designers such as Maija Isola and Viola Gråsten. These designs are especially prevalent in Swedish textiles from the postwar era, with prominent producers including Borås Wäfveri.
– Geometric designs as seen in the work of designers such as Verner Panton. Outside Scandinavia, geometric fabric designs were also very popular in the midcentury era in Germany and the UK, with artists including Barbara Brown and Peter Perritt designing textiles for companies like Heals.
– Semi-abstract designs as seen in the work of fabric designers like Maija Isola and Marjatta Metsovaara. Textiles in this style were especially popular in Finland, where designs tended to be particularly bold and on a very large scale and were produced by companies including Marimekko, Tampella and Finlayson. In the UK, Heals and David Whitehead also produced many fabrics in this style, with notable designers including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler and John Piper.
Many of the best Scandi modern fabric designs from the late 50s, 60s and 70s have proved to be perennial classics that have continued to resonate throughout the 50-plus years since they were created. Indeed, a number of textile designs from this era have been brought back into production and a significant proportion of today's contemporary fabrics have been directly inspired by Scandi designs from the midcentury and postwar period. We also love the unbeatable quality of original fabrics from the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as their distinctive and highly characteristic colours and print techniques.
We often use these stunning vintage fabrics in exactly the way they were originally intended – as curtains, as tablemats and tablecloths, or as headscarves. But our favourite tip is to use them as wall hangings, which emphasises their identity as the works of art they really are and is also a really easy and cost-effective way to introduce a strong Scandi midcentury modern ambience into a room.