Josef Frank 2139
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Maple, Walnut, Burl
Vintage 1950s Swedish Mid-Century Modern Tables
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Josef Frank for sale on 1stDibs
Austrian architect and furniture and fabric designer Josef Frank was a leading voice for a gentle, humane modernism. His advocacy of warm, comfortable, eclectically styled environments was highly influential in his adopted country of Sweden, and it’s now widely regarded as a harbinger of the backlash against doctrinaire modernism and the embrace of the homespun that occurred in the late 1960s.
The son of a successful Viennese textile manufacturer, Frank studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology, graduating in 1910. From the first years of his practice, he marched counter to the orderly, symmetrical architectural layouts and decors prescribed by contemporaries such as Adolf Loos.
Frank drafted rooms of varying shapes and called for flexible interior-design arrangements. His furniture pieces are light and easy to move — and his chairs are always made of wood, most often with lushly curved steam-bent arms and slatted backs. Frank openly loathed the tubular steel furnishings and “machine for living” aesthetic promoted by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and other Bauhaus principals. “The home must not be a mere efficient machine,” Frank once said. “It must offer comfort, rest and coziness…. There are no puritan principles in good interior decoration.”
Frank — who was Jewish — sensed the dire implications of the rise of Nazism in Germany and Austria, and in 1933 he moved to Stockholm with his Swedish wife, Anna. He became the design chief for the furnishings maker Svenskt Tenn and found a perfect match culturally for his brand of simple, relaxed and bright creations. Like many modernists — notably Charles and Ray Eames and Alexander Girard — Frank had a deep love of folk art, which influenced his designs for a wide array of colorful, richly patterned upholstery fabrics, many based on the classic “Tree of Life” motif.
In all his designs, Frank took inspiration from a broad variety of sources. In his furniture, one can discern traces of Asian patterns, Rococo, Italian Renaissance, Scandinavian handicrafts and even Chippendale pieces. As such, the work of Frank — the friendly modernist — is at home in any type of décor.
Finding the Right coffee-tables-cocktail-tables for You
As a practical focal point in your living area, antique and vintage coffee tables and cocktail tables are an invaluable addition to any interior.
Low tables that were initially used as tea tables or coffee tables have been around since at least the mid- to late-1800s. Early coffee tables surfaced in Victorian-era England, likely influenced by the use of tea tables in Japanese tea gardens. In the United States, furniture makers worked to introduce low, long tables into their offerings as the popularity of coffee and “coffee breaks” took hold during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
It didn’t take long for coffee tables and cocktail tables to become a design staple and for consumers to recognize their role in entertaining no matter what beverages were being served. Originally, these tables were as simple as they are practical — as high as your sofa and made primarily of wood. In recent years, however, metal, glass and plastics have become popular in coffee tables and cocktail tables, and design hasn’t been restricted to the conventional low profile, either.
Visionary craftspeople such as Paul Evans introduced bold, geometric designs that challenge the traditional idea of what a coffee table can be. The elongated rectangles and wide boxy forms of Evans’s desirable Cityscape coffee table, for example, will meet your needs but undoubtedly prove imposing in your living space.
If you’re shopping for an older coffee table to bring into your home — be it an antique Georgian-style coffee table made of mahogany or walnut with decorative inlays or a classic square mid-century modern piece comprised of rosewood designed by the likes of Ettore Sottsass — there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Both the table itself and what you put on it should align with the overall design of the room, not just by what you think looks fashionable in isolation. According to interior designer Tamara Eaton, the material of your vintage coffee table is something you need to consider. “With a glass coffee table, you also have to think about the surface underneath, like the rug or floor,” she says. “With wood and stone tables, you think about what’s on top.”
Find the perfect centerpiece for any room, no matter what your personal furniture style on 1stDibs. Browse a vast selection of antique, new and vintage coffee table and cocktail tables today.