When you are in the mood to design something fantastic and fanciful, look to the works of Austrian Josef Frank for inspiration.
A classical modernist designer, Josef Frank left his mark on the fields of architecture, furniture, and fabric for over eighty years. His philosophy was, "A home must not primarily be an effective machine; it must offer comfort, rest and a nice atmosphere where the eye can rest and the mind be refreshed. No puritanical principles in a good interior."
He started out as an architect, establishing himself in Vienna. He designed single-family homes and apartments, and their interiors. In the course of these commissions, his furniture designs deeply impressed Estrid Ericson, one of the founders of the classic Swedish interiors firm, Svenskt Tenn. Eventually, Frank joined her team, and they collaborated on home accessories. Frank was given the opportunity to design everything from lamps and furniture to textile patterns and glass.
Does this life path sound familiar? In many ways, Frank's life mirrors that of one of his role models, William Morris.
Frank was almost 50 when he joined Svenskt Tenn (hope for some of us designers of a certain age!). He is considered one of the leading pioneers of Swedish modern design. His imaginative works embrace over-sized motifs of flora, fauna and wildlife in brilliant color palettes.
During the war, his life took a detour to New York. You can see how his themes were influenced by the spirit of Manhattan and the popularity of Mexican folklore at the time. He was clearly bucking the trends of traditional linear restriction of that period, and there was certainly nothing puritanical about his subjects.