Thursday, February 21, 2013

A trip to nostalgia land

The Swedish Museum of Art (Nationalmuseum) in Stockholm is now closed for a several year long renovation, but we visited it one of the last weekends when it was open and I was in Stockholm.  One of the most fun exhibits was the one on functional and industrial design.  It was filled with so many items I know so well from my upbringing in Sweden, and some of them have even made it over to the US.  Here is a selection, with annotations:

Chair, 'Lamino', design by Yngve Ekström, Swedese Möbler 1955
When I grew up we had a Lamino chair at home, covered with gray woolskin, and it was wonderful.  I had no idea then that it was a classic bent-wood design.  The chair and its footstool is still in my mom's apartment and I sat in it just a month ago.

The Swedish dishbrush!
Swedish dishbrushes!  Once I went to a summer camp with a girl whose father had the patent on the straight line on the front that you use to scrape off hard pieces from your plates if you turn the brush around.  I bet he got a lot of money from all the dishbrushes that have been made in the last many decades.

I remember these lamps! They were incredibly plastic.
This kind of very plastic and cheap-looking lamp was common in youth hostels and rented cabins.  I think we had one too, orange maybe, and I have a vague memory that it nearly caught on fire once, but I could be wrong.  They weren't very good lamps, but popular.

Queue system with papernumbers (kölappsystem)
The very practical Swedish queue-system.  Used at every postoffice, bank, police station, you name it. I actually like this a lot better than standing in lines.

Swedish LM Ericsson phone in bakelit
A classic telephone, of the type that was provided by the phone company.  Back then you couldn't buy your phone, it was provided and owned by the phone company.  I think this one was made by Ericsson for the state-owned telephone company (which is no more, it is now privatized).  These were still in use in the 2000s, but I think they are gone now, since the outlets are different now.  Oh all the times I sat and dialed the numbers on the turning dial.... You couldn't hurry it, it took its time.

china, 'Blå eld' by Hertha Bengtzon,1951,  Rörstrand & Printed fabric, 'Pythagoras' by Sven Markelius, 1952, NK's textilkammare
This line of china is one of my favorites, and we had some at home when I grew up.  Blå eld means Blue Fire, and my sister collects this brand.

Table, 'Lack', IKEA, design by Jan Hellzen, 1979
This is probably the most common object in the whole exhibit.  IKEA's table LACK, which is still being sold.  We have several here at home in the US.  IKEA furnished so many homes in Sweden, it saved our budgets and book collections (thanks for Billy!).  I didn't realize that the LACK design was over 40 years old by now.

Swedish milk cartoons, Tetrapak, Arla
I don't know the year of this collection of dairy containers, maybe late 1980s?  Featured here are: regular milk (3% fat), 'middle milk' (1.5% fat), light milk (0.5% fat - too watery for me), mini milk (0% fat or nearly so),  'vispgrädde' heavy cream (40% fat), and 'gräddfil' (sour creme, but runnier, 12% fat).  The containers are Tetrapak, paper with plastic on the inside.  Oh, the memories....  :)


PP said...

As for the table see here:

It is not a Swedish or Ikea design, but has become so ubiquitous that it seems like it has always been around. In the 1930's it must have seemed very moderne!

Katie H said...

Speaking of patents, my grandfather was offered the patent and distribution of tetra pac in the US (many decades ago), and thanked no with a "who would want their milk in a box"-comment... yeah, he made some great decisions!

LS said...

Wow, passing up on Tetrapak! You could all have been billionaires now! Oh well... it is easy to be smart in hindsight.

Aha, so as usual, IKEA adopts/steals and makes something cheaper and for the masses... interesting to read about that Parsons table.