Bergevall frames was opened in 1968 on Högalidsgatan in Stockholm by Ingemar & Ebba Bergevall and their daughter Agneta also worked there. Ingemar had previously been employed at a framework workshop but wants to work more creatively and had very good contacts in the art world. In 1973, Agneta’s husband Björn started working there who came from the graphic industry with good paper knowledge and color theory. Today, the third generation, the sibling couple Åse Gillhart and Mattias Gillhart Waxin, continue to run the framework workshop.
The Modern Museum, Artipelag and the National Museum are some of the customers. But just as often, the neighbor comes with the embroidery who is looking for a frame and the younger generation who have become interested in photography or just want to frame paintings of their children.
Quality is at the heart of everything they do, but what is really behind the word?
Here follows a kitchen table conversation with the co-owners Åse and Mattias and their mother Agneta who is still helping in the store.
-A framing should last a lifetime and you should not have to frame every two years. And the picture must manage in terms of quality during that time, – If you do not want it, you can always buy a standard frame, adds mother Agneta who still works in the workshop when needed.
-On the phone, it is difficult to describe the difference between us and other frame makers for a customer, but if you come in we can show and explain what makes our frames special. We never compromise on quality. It’s about everything from how we attach pictures to glass and the material in the framing, says Åse who started working in the workshop with his parents immediately after high school in 1988.
-We also have our own list production, which my father started up, says Mattias. Two carpenters manufacture our profiles in hardwood. We are a bit niche on them, because they are very popular. You can also make your own changes or if you have your own ideas about how the frame should be designed, we will help with that.
Acid-free cardboard, which most frame makers now use, was actually something that was introduced in Sweden with the help of Bergevalls in the mid-1980s.
-It was my husband Björn who was very interested in technology and materials that heard about everything that was used in the US, says Agneta.
Why is acid free so important?
-Paper contains wood pulp and lignin, substances that are harmful. Acid-free paper or actually pH-neutral paper without acids is the best for the image. You can see from older frames that the picture / cardboard has turned yellow, has burn marks and become brittle and brittle, then the paper is bad. That is why pH-neutral paper is important, says Åse.
-Björn was very interested in paper quality so we participated very early in the acid-free paper being used in Sweden. For a while, we imported acid-free cardboard directly from the USA with an industry colleague, says Agneta.
Another innovation that Bergevalls also started with early on is the installation of works in boxes with edging strips.
It started with Agneta and Björn seeing framed works from the USA with edging strips.
-It creates an air gap between the work and the glass, which spares not least graphic works that were so very popular in the 80’s. Now the graphics have disappeared almost completely. Photography, on the other hand, has become huge and the distance between glass and image is even more important.
What is the most fun thing about the profession?
-For me, it is to come up with technical solutions for how different images should be mounted, says Mattias.
-Yes, and to meet all customers, says Åse. I’m not really that interested in art myself, it’s the craft, color and shape and getting the image in the center that I like. It is fun to give advice and together with the customer decide how the framing should be.
Nowadays, Bergevalls is also the proud owner of Sweden’s largest carpet cutter, imported from Italy.
-It cuts 1.30 times 2.50 meters, says Mattias. We are a bit niche in making large assemblies and cutting mats in large format. But now there has apparently been an even bigger one on the market.
-It does not go into the store, says Åse.
-Yes, it does, says Mattias. I’m already checked that out.