Josef Frank, Architect, Furniture and Textile Designer May 03, 2017 23:47

I have recently been to see the Josef Frank Patterns: Furniture-Paintings' exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London. The exhibition show cast his patterns, furnitures and less known watercolour paintings.

The exhibition is on until the 7th of May.

Josef Frank, famous for his vivid and bold textiles designed mainly for Sventskt Tenn, was born near Vienna in 1885. He studied architecture at the Vienna University of Technology and after the WWI became a professor of architecture as well as successfully practicing architect. In 1925, he founded the design and furnishing firm Haus & Garden, successfully designing house, furniture and fabrics.


Textile collection

Frank left Vienna in 1933 due to the growing anti-Semitism and went to live in Stockholm with his Swedish wife, Anna. He collaborated with Estrid Ericson at Sventskt Tenn from 1934, designing textile patterns and furniture that are now considered "Swedish Modernist" Classic.The duo exhibited at the Paris Word Expositions in Paris (1937) and in New York (1939), showcasting their bold contrast interiors which was in complete opposition to the trends of the time.

Most of Frank Josef's textile and furniture are now distributed by Sventskt Tenn and you can find more information on their website.

 Terrazzo Fabric (1943/45) 

 Above are images of the Terrazzo Design (1944). The watercolour design (left) and the fabric (right). Departing from familiar nature themes, the new inspiration for the Terrazzo design was a Italian mozaic terrazzo floor pattern.

Manahattan design in watercolour (1945-43)  Manhattan Fabric (1943-45)

Map of Manhattan design in watercolour (left) and Fabric (right:). Josef Frank lived and worked in Manhattan, New York from 1941-1946. He found Manhattan’s city plan so interesting in its simplicity, that he created the Manhattan print.

My favourite design is the Teheran (1940), an interpretation of Persian Carpet first printed in 1991.

 Svenskt Tenn Textil Teheran Vit

Josef Frank's paintings

Josef Frank had always use watercolour in designing his textile patterns, but started painting landscapes, cityscapes and still life in the 1950s when commissions for architecture projects and interiors were becoming fewer. No one was aware of the extend of his output until recently. A large part of the collection was painted during summer holiday in Provence.



Fashion and Textile Museum

Svenskt Ten

Recent article on Josef Frank


24 hours in Bath: Spa, Culture, amazing food & drinks, and a textile discovery March 25, 2017 16:21

I have indulged in a few mini breaks lately. They offer the fresh perspective needed to be creative and often I come back inspired and raring to get back into my studio.

My last mini break was last weekend, when I went to Bath to see my friend and actress Emma Beattie in The curious incident of the dog in the night time. The award winning NT play which, to quote the author Mark Haddon, “is a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. The book is not specifically about any specific disorder”. The play is currently on tour in the U.K and about to go on an international tour.

Where to relax in Bath

On my arrival from Brighton, we went straight to the Bath Thermae Spa. It has mixed reviews but we both love spa experiences so were ready to try it! Unfortunately the steam rooms are currently being renovated until the end of March 2017, but this entitles you to a free re entry voucher. We arrived just before the Friday late afternoon rush so it wasn't too busy and we had a lovely, and fun time!

Where to Eat & Drink in Bath

We came out refreshed and hungry for our dinner at the award Winning, scallop Shell. It has a modern and warm interior with a fish counter you can choose from, a great menu and a nice wine and beer list! I went for a grilled sole but Emma had the haddock fish & chips and both were divine!

Whilst Emma was getting ready for the play I had a drink at the lovely and (prope, excuse my French) Vino Vino wine bar which is next to the Theatre Royal. The Oven, the award winning pizzeria next door, smelled delicious and customers were raving about it when leaving the restaurant.

Now, it was time to see the play, which was amazing. A beautiful insight in the mind of a teenager with behaviour issues having to cope with life challenges. I also loved the theatre, which has been restored whilst retaining its original design and features.

After the show we went to The d'Ark Horse, an underground cocktail bar. An intimate bar with a nice atmosphere and friendly service. They follow the current trend of serving beautiful cocktails using local ingredients.

Where to shop for interior in Bath

Saturday morning after a visit to The Thoughtful Bakery for coffee and breads (like beetroot bread and wraps!!), yumm yum! But now it was time for some shopping so we went first to Milson Street, where the Morris dancers were performing. We visited Savannah Home Store , of course, I love interior shops, especially when they offer something unusual. Savannah Home store currently have for sale wingback chairs upholstered in died silk velvet fabric and a collection of cushions and throws. The fabric is designed and made by the former textile designer for Galliano and McQueen. Her fabrics are a work of art and fashion history. I have been on the hunt for some new cushions in an original nice fabric so I may have found them!


We then went to Hay store, who designs and makes contemporary furniture with an eye for modern living and sophisticated industrial manufacturing. I discovered Hay in Copenhagen 10 years ago, when I travel back home with bags of cushions (that was the time of unlimited luggage being allowed on the plane) and I am still a big fan! This year I particularly like the yellow accent.

We then had a brunch at the Wild Cafe, serving breakfast all day and It was time for my 13.01 train to Brighton and Emma's matinee show.

I feel like every time I come to Bath, there is so much more to discover. I will be back soon!!




Bridge Chairs May 03, 2016 00:06

Kiki Voltaire has been sourcing and restoring Bridge Chairs - Fauteuil Bridge - from France for nearly 10 years. Bridge chairs were originally designed in the late 1930s for ladies of leisure for games of bridge, afternoon tea and gossiping! The chairs are stylish, of small proportions, well made and extremely comfortable. Manufacturing continued until the 1950s.

Bridge chairs have a small compact size which makes them easy to use in most rooms - suiting a bedroom, office or even to accompany a dinning table. The frame is usually constructed in beech timber and on occasion oak - typically finished in natural wood or stained.

We often take delivery of the chairs covered in bicast (artificial) leather but we have also seen several interesting covers over the years!



We remove the entire upholstery as the springs and the padding are not so comfortable after 70 years! We also restore the wood, by cleaning or even removing the existing finishing which is often very dirty! This process can take several days - a real labour of love. Then we re-upholster the chair.



The final step is to decide on the fabric to finalise the design!

If you fancy learning how to restore Bridge Chairs and practice your French at the same time, check out these classes run by by Etienne Champenois of the Stage-Tapissier in Paris and Uzes.

For additional information on Bridge Chairs, check this blog by Capella Kincheloe were you can see a pair of our very early Bridge Chairs in Pink Camira fabric.




Bespoke Notice Board's design journey February 22, 2016 21:17

Kiki Voltaire works regularly with individuals and interior designers to create bespoke notice boards. In this blog we’ll explore some of the recent commissions we have made in our Brighton’s studio and discuss the design journey.

Size, colour, style and situation…

Our customers often have a good idea of the size and colour they are looking for, and usually they brief me on the room and interior style. As well as going over the decor (colour palette, style), we also discuss who will use the notice board and if it’s for a specific purpose (such as displaying kids’ artwork). Using Skype or FaceTime video calls has also been a very effective way of seeing the room, style and other furnishings to help the design process.

Interior designers provide  us with a full brief, including drawings, colour palettes and required measurements – for example of a cabinet or a specific space the notice board must fit within.

Fabric & finishing…

Kiki Voltaire has a strong preference for natural materials and we work mainly with linen and wool for our notice board collection. Linen is a beautiful material made from the fibres of the flax plant, it’s natural qualities make it easy to work with for upholstery work. The flax fibres and weaving process causes little "imperfections", which we think add to the appeal. Our supplier offers a choice of over 30 colours – here are just a few…

Linen fabric       

We also use wool fabric from Moon Fabrics, mainly from their Melton Collection. Their felt wool is made in Moon’s mill in Yorkshire (UK) and is truly beautiful, hard-wearing and slightly stretchy – so perfect to use on our contemporary notice boards, but also for upholstery. It is available in a wide range of colours and we love it!

Moon fabric Melton collection    

To compliment the fabrics Kiki Voltaire uses a collection of vintage ribbons we have acquired over the years, grosgrain and woven ribbons which are sourced from suppliers such as East of India and Jane Means. Our wide range of elastic bands used on our contemporary notice boards are sourced from Japan.

We offer the option to add cork backing to our notice board for customers wishing to use pins.

This are some of our recent commissions.

Bespoke notice board covered in black linen with black ribbons with beige edges



Kiki Voltaire's New Website March 14, 2015 13:38

Kiki Voltaire is very excited to launch our new website, with a brand new store, responsive web design for mobile & tablets and links to our favourite social media platforms - Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. We hope you enjoy the new look & feel of Kiki Voltaire and don't forget to sign up to our newsletter for regular updates on new products, vintage finds and special offers.