Book Review: Swedish Modernism - Architecture, Consumption and the Welfare State

Readers of Talkitect are offered a 40% discount

The fascinating aspect of the book "Swedish Modernism: Architecture, Consumption and the Welfare State" is its in depth look at culture and the conditions within society that lead to the adoption of modern architecture in Sweden. Juxtaposing themes in literature, pop culture, consumer trends, politics and the day to day lives of Sweden's citizens gives great insight into the reasons modernism swept through the region. The various essays within the book each offer a fascinating perspective on an acute aspect of the historical period. Rather than focusing singly on architects and the buildings they constructed we are given the multifaceted background from which they were drawing their influences. Too often we read about the end result of a design and thus lack the historical context in which a building or movement occurred. This book does a superb job of filling in the blanks and connecting the dots between the built environment and the culture from which it sprang.

The themes in this book also touch on how Sweden was influenced by and in turn influenced the development of other countries around the world. From the years after WWI through the second world war and the reconstruction the followed, Sweden was able to draw from the successes and failures of other countries and mold them to fit their specific culture and needs. These influences gives insight into how modernism spread around the globe and yet was implemented in different ways depending on the local conditions.

This is an informative read offering varying perspectives from leading researchers, architects and planners. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the conditions that lead to the modern movement and the influence that it then had on society. 

Furthermore, the physical design of this book is excellent, providing an enjoyable reading experience. The graphic layout is clear and concise with plenty of white space to rest your eyes. The fonts and images are clear, crisp and straightforward, while being well arranged on the page. The paper quality is excellent and the weight of the book feels great in your hand. I am fascinated by the design of books and appreciate when a book feels and looks great.

Readers of are offered a special 40% discount on any orders for this title. Simply email Jessica Atkins at with your delivery address and quoting ‘Talkitect Offer’ as the subject of the email. 

More information on the book from the publisher:

Swedish Modernism is a comprehensive reader analysing the role of modern architecture, city planning and consumption in the construction of the Swedish welfare state. The book draws mainly from the formative phase of the Swedish model, but also on European and American examples, and highlight the contradictions and complexities of the process of modernisation.

Swedish Modernism provides an in-depth, multilayered account of the process of modernisation; whilst also highlighting the difficulties found. The debate is enriched by a range of authoritative contributors including architects, researchers and leading academics from across the globe, with an introduction from Helena Mattsson and Sven-Olov Wallenstein and content by leading academics from New York’s Columbia University and London’s UCL.

Informative, insightful, and richly illustrated, this is an indispensable volume for professionals in the field, students of architecture and design, and anyone with an interest in architecture, modernisation and their importance in the social context.

- Further information on this title can be found at:
- To order, simply email Jessica Atkins at with your delivery address and quoting ‘Talkitect Offer’ as the subject of the email.


Swedish Modernism: Architecture, COnsumption and the Welfare State

Edited by Helena Mattsson and Sven-Olov Wallenstein
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1906155988
Black Dog Publishing:

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