Our unique history

The association Svensk Form, originally Svenska Slöjdföreningen (The Swedish Society of Crafts and Design), was founded in 1845 to safeguard the quality of the Swedish crafts industry. At the time one of the main threats posed to the industry was the increase in mass production and the poor quality of the resulting goods, often made by non-guild-trained craftsmen.

This was an important year in the Swedish design landscape as Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design also came into existence. As a result, a new approach to design began to emerge – forward thinking and consistent with industrial production methods rather than seeking to poorly imitate old forms of luxury. The working classes of Sweden became design-empowered with access to well-designed, beautiful and affordable goods.

“Beautiful Everyday Goods” was born as a slogan in 1919, forming the basis for Svensk Form’s mission during the first half of the 1900’s. The association’s members numbered mostly professionals involved in design and crafts but also featured academics, businessmen, industrialists and history experts.

From the outset Svensk Form was an active lobbyist; arranging exhibitions, initiating debate and publishing Form, now the world’s oldest design magazine.

To find out more Svensk Form’s history contact Anita Christiansen, in charge of the library and archives. Svensk Form’s library and picture archive contain a wealth of written information and photographs in the field of design. In recent years a large quantity of material has been digitised and is searchable at www.designarkiv.se This online archive is particularly useful for researchers and students.