The best and worst from 1970s

Möbeldesignmuseum is Stockholm’s museum dedicated to furniture and interior. Privately run and with a huge collection of furniture pieces. This week they open again after the pandemic and with a new exhibition focused on the 70s.

The 70s in Sweden was all about being with or against ABBA, the oil crisis and focus on kids. Yes, this is the decade when there were pictures of kids climbing furnitures. This decade people also discussed denim and the role of the dad (pappamånad). The exhibition states that the 70s got more casual. Perhaps as a result of the student uprising in 1968.

This exhibition is a brief and colourful introduction to this decade. Here are funky pieces that you still can see in movies like Men in Black, but also political (or democratic) pieces from KF. But the 70s is ofcourse all about strong colours and plastics.

Everything is explained educationally and put in context. Like these chairs by Jan Dranger and Johan Huldt, which came to be part of the Habitat collection by Terence Conran.

When will we see the first retrospective of Johan Huldt? A designer perhaps a bit forgotten between Bruno Mathson and Claesson Koivisto Rune – but he is the designer of some huge international design icons.

One section of the exhibtion look at how large department stores gave us accessible and affordable design. Here are for instance pieces from KF (today COOP).

Colourful and funky shapes. This is a decade when the children were the in the focus of interior design. Make the pieces “climbable”.

Designer Bruno Mathson is also represented in the exhibition. Previous decades he was mainly known for hos woodwork but in these times he started working in tubular steel.

In the 1970s Swedish design producers experimented in doing furniture in plastics but this really didn’t work out. Mainly because the you needed large volumes to make a profit.

So, final verdict? How good is this exhibition on 1970s interior design? Exhibitions on Swedish plastics have been done previously, and ofcourse we see private collections with pieces from the era. Some of these chairs can absolutely be seen at the auction houses or at thrift shops.

It is also fairly small. The exhibition space at the museum is limited.

But it is absolutely good. In 2019 the museum did an exhibition on the 80s but mainly with international pieces. This is only with Swedish design. And that is a big bonus.

The exhibition has a nice balance between recognisable or nostalgia to educational. I got happy to see the pieces by Johan Huldt, KF and to see how Bruno Mathson grew in this decade.

I would give this exhibtion a seven out of ten. Absolutley worth seeing. Of course you always want more. It would have been interesting to see a clearer connection between Sweden and the international players. It would have been extremely interesting to see how Swedes reacted to Enzo Mari and his Sedia Chair from 1974.

Of course I want to see more of brands like IKEA. And also a bit more from the anti-consumerism with Lena Larsson and her writings and exhibtions.

This is a furniture exhibition and not something that would cover the whole home. Yes, some textiles are here and a few lamps, but this is mainly about furniture pieces.

Go see it. Seven out of ten points.

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Joakim Werning
Joakim Werning
3 months ago

I understand they have a great collection. It’s time for me to go there. May I correct you on the spelling of Bruno Mathsson 🙂

Last edited 3 months ago by Joakim Werning