Artist unknown
Haeggstroms, printer
1930 Exposicion de Estocolmo, 1929

H. 32 x W. 24-1/4 in.

In 1930 Stockholm was the site of an important international forum for Modernism, the famed Stockholm Exhibition, in which the Swedes had "gone bolshy," converting to funkis—the Swedish term for functionalism. The exhibition was intended to sing the praises of the "practical" as well as the "humanist" qualities found in the housing and design policies supported by state and local authorities. It was quite apparent there was a pervasive rejection of an essentially national tradition that had established Sweden’s reputation for design—"Swedish Grace," as it was affectionately called. A primary reason for Sweden’s bold step into modernity was the country’s positive acceptance of the machine and the machine aesthetic. In the minds of many the Swedes were turning their back on the past (an honorable past at that) and using their native resources to create the ideal conditions for a democratic future.

This colorful poster (the designer remains unknown) incorporates the colors of the Swedish flag as a top bar and uses a distinctive circular type for the date, 1930. It was the template for all participating countries, each inserting their respective copy in the bottom segment (this representing the Spanish delegation). The posters were designed to provide a unified format and to carry at a long distance; thus no imagery. The Swedes were especially successful in maintaining a human touch and handcraftsmanship in what was otherwise mass production. They achieved this ideal with very little compromise, as their success in the 1950s and 1960s demonstrated.