Its a Biedermeier Christmas
After years of white furniture dominating the design landscape, things seem to be changing.
The Swedish Gustavian style is always going to be popular and with good reason because it is beautiful, wonderfully crafted and elegant. However its increasingly difficult to find authentic original gustavian furniture from 1780-1830 that hasnt been messed around with, ‘restored’ by adding new bits of replacement carving etc and ‘stripped back to original paint’ which is really just a design look since the original finish would have been a full chalky coat of natural pigment paint not the ditrssed look that is now ubiquitous for gustavian and lesser shabby chic furniture.
We are also seeing a lot of belgian and german furniture that is of teh period but has been ‘repurposed’ into the gustavian style by additions of carving and paint etc and often actually touted as ‘Swedish’. The best one can say is ‘buyer beware’ i guess.
So it’s refreshing that antique Biedermeier sofas, commodes and chests of drawers, chiffoniers, ormulu tables, chairs and dining tables are now back in vogue.
Swedish Biedermeier as a style is definitely less rigid than say its German counterpart and less florid than the French Empire that influenced it – Sweden always manages to distill the best elements of any style its appropriates (as is the nature of Swedes generally).
Usually based around a birch frame, the makers of Swedish Biedermeier furniture chose various grades of fine golden birch veneers to clad the furniture. The very best veneers have extravagant flame and quilting running through the wood and the lesser pieces use plainer golden birch. On other pieces birds eye maple, cherrywood and some other show woods were also chosen because of their natural figure.
They are then brought to life by a luscious french polish usually in a light honey colour or a mid oak stain.
On higher end pieces you get the wonderful counterpoint of the light golden birches against the ormulu detailing usually on leading edges, legs and decorative features which really stands out.
All in all its pretty special stuff and we always have a lovely selection of pieces available that we source in sweden usually from the original family owners.