Swedish Style Eras

 Renaissance (1520 – 1650)

  • Simplicity and functionality ruled during the Renaissance period and focus was on the individual.
  • Furniture was seen as a symbol of social status and leaned on the Classical architectural design of the time.
  • Influences came mainly from Italy with geometric forms contributing a certain harmony and balance to interior spaces and design. A restrained look with simple designs and carved ornaments, often inspired by historical themes, is the epitome of the Renaissance era
  • Immigrants from Germany and Holland brought quality craftmanship and a Nordic touch was added.

Baroque (1650 – 1750)

  • Louis XIV in Versailles set the stage for this period, which reflected a rich and extravagant lifestyle
  • Furnishings were exaggerated with strong colors, flamboyant style, and grandiose Acanthus leaves, visible during the Renaissance, became even more popular and C and S shapes were prominent
  • The furniture style became lighter and less decorated as it moved into Late Baroque
  • This was a time when the finer things in life came into focus and Sweden’s style was influenced by both France and Britain resulting in extravagant splendor

Rococo (1750 – 1775)

  • The Rococo period brought a break from the dark and heavy style which was prevalent during the Baroque
  • Soft and asymmetric forms inspired by nature.
  • It was sophisticated and light
  • Reflected a playful, idyllic country life and S shapes were dominant
  • Furniture also became more comfortable as padding and upholstery were introduced.

Gustavian (1775 – 1810)

  • Furniture and interior decoration of the wealthy and King Gustav III set the trends
  • Inspirations were historical classical structures like the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Another strong influence was the court of Versailles and craftsmen were sent to Paris for in-depth study
  • The style is elegant and airy, reserved and exquisitely decorated with a strong Swedish character
  • Whitewashed ceilings were in vogue and moldings and stucco commonly decorated the walls
  • Pedestals and columns were defining elements 

Empire/Karl Johan (1810 – 1840)

  • “Second Bronze Age”, due to the period being characterized by fire-gilded bronze
  • It was a majestic era with colorful interiors and decoration inspired by classical ideals.
  • Style was not as lavish as the French model and was more English inspired, where it was referred to as the “Regency style”
  • A more unpretentious, simple form and a bourgeois character
  • Influenced by the French revolution, warlike symbols were commonly used
  • Symbols and ornaments inspired by the ancient Greek and Roman empires
  • Popular style of grouping furniture underneath a chandelier was introduced as well as wallpaper and colorful textiles.

Revivalism (1830 – 1895)

  • Revivalism is a term for a variety of European styles
  • People preferred new made possible by the industrialization of furniture making
  • Strong passion for elaborate textile products and extravagant types of wood
  • Furniture provided greater comfort and generally displayed a stronger, more exaggerated form.

Folk Art “Allmoge” (1750 – 1850)

  • “Allmoge” comes from Old Norse, meaning “all the people, country people”
  • The style was taken from the wealthy, but it was simplified to suit the rural setting
  • The choice of wood was mainly pine and birch and most often created by craftsmen who had carpentry and cabinetry as a hobby
  • Clearly displays the geographical differences by the colours and motifs – both in the furniture and textiles
  • A style that stands out is “kurbits”, which originates from Dalarna and is characterized by the richly painted floral patterns.