Gammalsvenska – wallpapers from times past


085-03 Nyckelviken Ett


Duro is the oldest wallpaper factory in Sweden, and since the company began in Gävle in 1930 it’s been manufacturing wallpapers that live and breathe Scandinavian design. Duro’s popular classics, Gammalsvenska (Old Swedish) wallpapers, are based on wallpaper styles from various eras, from old farm cottages and Rococo to Art Nouveau.  This concept is based on strong, clear colours with distinctive design. Swedish households have been sending wallpapers and wallpaper fragments to Duro ever since the company began. Over the years, we’ve put together an extensive collection of wallpapers that is now one of the biggest wallpaper collections in Sweden, but it’s also an important part of our cultural heritage. The Duro archive also provides a valuable source of inspiration that’s nurtured with care and used when we produce some of our most beloved collections.

Producing Gammalsvenska
Our Gammalsvenska collection came into being in 1968, and at that time it included historical patterns from Duro but also from the Swedish National Heritage Board. The unique thing about this collection was that attempts were made to reproduce the historical patterns with as contemporary a design as possible in terms of pattern, colour schemes and printing techniques. In our efforts to recreate historical wallpaper patterns, we’ve worked with a number of antiquarians and museums over the years and asked the advice of wallpaper specialists.

In 1975, we held a nationwide competition together with Land magazine, where Duro looked for wallpaper fragments as a basis for a new Gammalsvenska collection. There was a huge amount of interest. We received around 20,000 entries, which went on to form a basis for our collection at the time. These fragments also provided the foundation for the wallpaper archive at Gävleborg Museum. The collection has been updated several times since then and is even now a much-loved classic in the Duro range.

When producing Gammalsvenska nowadays, we work on the basis of our archive as we hunt for treasured new patterns. A number of patterns have become popular classics, such as Gästgivars and Dellen, and that’s why they still form part of new Gammalsvenska collections. Other patterns are added as interest in the history of wallpaper and various eras grows and heads off in new directions. When we update the collection, we also review the colours to make sure they’re modern even though the original colours continue to live on.

Duro’s present Gammalsvenska collection is made up of 22 different patterns, all of which are reproductions of older originals. Our wallpapers are carefully traced and recreated from old wallpaper fragments from various eras and styles, everything from the Rococo to the early 1920s. All the wallpapers in our Gammalsvenska collection have their own tales to tell.

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Various eras

Our collection begins with Nyckelviken Ett, a Rococo wallpaper dating back to the 1740s, where the original was mostly painted by hand. This pattern comes from Stora Nyckelviken in Nacka, and this wallpaper with its winding flowers and lace details is one of the most popular patterns from the Rococo. Neo-Renaissance, Gustavian and rustic wallpapers dating back to the entire 19th century are also represented. From the early 20th century we have patterns from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras, such as Nergården, which has been part of our collection since 1991. The original can be traced back to the period between 1917 and 1925, as it resembles wallpapers from the period known as Wiener Jugend or Late Jugend. This style has more architectural substance than the billowing floral patterns we associate with the earlier Art Nouveau period. Our collection is rounded off with Löväng, a wallpaper dating back to the 1920s-1930s. This is a climbing pattern of fantasy flowers typical for the period following Art Deco, when wallpaper styles made the transition to a more luxuriant world of plants. Löväng was found during the renovation of a building in Tierp, Uppland.

Gammalsvenska wallpapers are ideal for people who are interested in home furnishings and want to recreate historical environments, but also for people with more eclectic style who enjoy mixing the historical and the contemporary. These wallpapers are Duro’s contribution to wallpaper history!

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