swedish design: 10-gruppen

When our neighbours in Finland take pride in one of the most famous design houses of the world – Marimekko (previous post HERE) – we love our own take on this type of bold, colourful, graphic textile design in Sweden: 10-gruppen, known as Ten Swedish Designers abroad.

They were founded in 1970 by ten young designers who wanted to control the entire process of making textiles to ensure the very best quality from beginning to end. Their big, flamboyant patterns distinguished themselves radically from what was the Swedish standard at the time, although Marimekko had existed for almost twenty years already, and Mah-jong, a Swedish textile and clothes manufacturer (1966-1976) had paved the way for unseen colour combinations and innovative pattern design. Three of the original ten, Birgitta Hahn, Tom Hedqvist and Ingela Håkansson-Lamm would run the company until 2015, when they closed down the flagship store in Stockholm along with the entire production. Many of the remaining founding members made great careers on their own, like Inez Svensson, Gunila Axén or Carl Johan De Geer.

Ten Swedish Designers shopping bags

10-gruppen was inspired by painting, architecture and Swedish folklore. They exhibited textiles and prints in New York, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo among other places. As many Scandinavian designers, they were popular in Asia and in 2013 presented a cooperation with the Japanese brand Uniqlo, who launched a fall/winter collection with their patterns. Over the years, they’ve also been cooperating with Ikea and other major Swedish manufacturers such as Klässbols Linneväveri.

Then, last February, a 45-year long era of Swedish design history came to an end… or is there a sequel? Well, three months after the chocking news of the ending of the company the announcement of a new owner hit the media… 10-gruppen is now a part of Ikea and they will manage the legacy by opening a 10-gruppen store and make the prints available again. Ikea claims that it owes some of its identity to the influence of 10-gruppen and that a new collection is coming soon…

This makes me very happy as I have vivid memories of these patterns over the years, passing their colourful store in “my” part of Stockholm almost every day since my time in college! So watch out for a new collection – you will not get disappointed!

photos and copyrights: 10-gruppen, Uniqlo

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