Per Sax Møller b. 1950

The story behind

The Danish silversmith Per Sax Møller was trained in the Danish silver tradition with Jeweler to the Royal Danish Court, A. Michelsen, from 1968-1972. They specialized in modern silver, which was designed by known Danish architects. Later he worked at Preben Salomonsen’s workshop in Copenhagen and was stationed one year at the Louisiana Moderne Museum of Art.

In 1976, Per Sax Møller established himself in a workshop in Copenhagen. He joined the “Danish Silversmiths” and exhibitions throughout Scandinavia. Sax Møller has received Danish State Arts Foundation grant in 1979, 1997, 2000 and 2002. Today his main focus is working with lighting and sculptures. His works are represented in several Nordic Museums and his sculptures are found in important private Collections.

The experiences he has acquired over the years in his silver work, he has in recent years applied to pure sculptural objects, where it is still a matter of working with hollowware, but in many joined parts.

The starting point is a series of sketches where the idea for the sculpture is crafted and later translated into a three-dimensional form. The sculptures are made with a silversmithing technique where plates in 1.5 to 2 mm brass, tombak or bronze are bent and joined with silver soldering.

Axel Salto 1889-1961

The story behind


Axel Johannes Salto (1889-1961) was a Danish ceramicist of international fame. His works also include painting, graphic design and book illustrations, jewelry and textiles. As author and founder of the art magazine Klingen (1917-1919), Salto was another important contributor to the art debate in Denmark. He made his debut as a painter in 1911, while his career as a potter took off at the Paris Exhibition in 1925.

He became a student at Frederiksberg Latin and Real School in 1907 and was a student of Holger Grønvold at the Technical Society’s School from 1907. Salto studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1909 to 1914 under Peter Rostrup Bøyesen.

In 1916, Salto visited Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. This meeting became a milestone for Salto’s artistic ambitions and his groundbreaking ideas.

In 1921, Salto founded the painting group De Fire, which in addition to himself consisted of Svend Johansen, Vilhelm Lundstrøm and Karl Larsen. The group lived much of the 1920s in Paris, where they worked together. The four artists first exhibited together at the turn of the year 1920/1921 and continued regularly until 1928. The group profiled itself as modern, young and progressive, and its exhibitions were shrouded in debate and controversy.

During the 1920s, his artistic focus shifted from painting to ceramics, and he made around 3,000 stoneware works from 1923 to 1950. A large part of them were made in Carl Halier’s ceramic workshop in Frederiksberg. Among Salto’s first works was the polychrome porcelain (Bing & Grondahl, 1923-25), which was presented in the Danish pavilion at the World’s Fair in 1925 (Exposition Internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes). This was followed by stoneware in collaboration with Carl Halier (1929-30) and Saxbo ceramics (1931-32). From the mid-1930s he worked mainly with the Royal Porcelain factory in Copenhagen.

Salto developed his ceramic stoneware works throughout his career and experimented with unusually rich glazes and organic shapes. He is mainly known for three styles characterized by ornamental simplification. 1) The fluted style, based on simple repetitive patterns. 2) The budding style, inspired by chestnuts and eucalyptus fruits. 3) The budding style, a reflection of naturally growing plants. Salto used Chinese and classical glazes such as solfatara and sung.

From 1951 to 1959, Salto led the renewal of Sonne’s frieze at Thorvaldsens Museum.

He was a member of Grønningen 1935-45 and received i.a. The Eckersberg Medal in 1938, the Prince Eugene Medal in 1959 and the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial in 1951


Poul Henningsen 1894-1967

The story behind


Poul Henningsen was educated as an architect, but it is especially in the field of lighting that his abilities as a designer are seriously known. As early as 1924, Poul Henningsen began his lifelong collaboration with Louis Poulsen, which was to lead to a number of innovative and original lamps.

Poul Henningsen’s background in functionalist architecture was expressed in the desire to create a lamp that would beautify the home both through its form, but also by virtue of the light it emitted. His development of structures, shadows and glare has made him a pioneer in lighting design.

His first year with Louis Poulsen, he developed the first PH lamp, whose unique screen system was awarded the gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1925, since then the PH lamp’s innovative screen system has also been included in the Danish cultural canon.

Poul Hennigsen combines mathematical precision with organic forms for a timeless, modern design, and the PH lamp and its successor as Koglen og Kuglen have become design icons for the pure sculptural expression, as well as the harmonious, glare-free light it emits.

Finn Juhl 1912-1989

The story behind


Finn Juhl (1912-1989) was a Danish architect, interior and industrial designer. 

Juhl enrolled at the Department of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He began his studies in the 1930s, which was an important period in furniture design and when modern design started to emerge. In 1934 while he was still a student, Finn Juhl started working with the prominent Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen. At his studio, he worked on major projects such as the Danish Broadcasting House and Copenhagen Airport. He received the honor of becoming a member of the Academic Architect Society in 1942, and later he became a visiting professor at the Institute of Design in Chicago. 

One of the international highlights of Juhl’s career was designing the complete interior of the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York between 1951 and 52. 

Hans J. Wegner 1914-2007

The story behind


Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) was a Danish cabinet maker and furniture designer. 

At the age of 18 years, Wegner is taught by the known cabinet maker H.E. Stahlberg in the Danish town Toender, which he soon mastered to perfection. 

Wegner was trained as a carpenter in 1931 and studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen from 1936-1938. In 1940-1943 he designed the furniture for e.g. Arne Jacobsen’s town hall in Aarhus. Wegner worked as an independent architect and was employed as a teacher at the Artisan School’s Furniture School. After 1940, he designed furniture for Danish companies. In addition to furniture, he drew silverware, wallpaper and several lamps. Wegner’s famous Pendant – first shown at the Cabinet Masters’ Autumn Exhibition in 1962 – is still produced by the Danish lighting manufacturer Pandul. The same applies to the entire OPALA series that Wegner originally designed for Hotel Scandinavia in Copenhagen.

In 1936 Wegner starts to study at the Academy of Arts in Denmark. In 1938 he begins working for the well-known architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Moeller. He was hired to draw the furniture for The city Town hall in Aarhus. 

Wegner is primarily known for his chairs, such as The Chinese chair from 1944, The peacock chair from 1947, The round chair from 1949 – which became world famous when it was used in a TV debate in 1960 in the USA between Kennedy and Nixon,  The Y-chair from 1950, The Jacket’s Rest from 1953, The Pole chair from 1960 and Armchair from 1965.

Wegner, along with Finnish designer and sculptor Tapio Wirkkala, received the first Lunning Award in 1951. And in 1997, he received The 8th International Design Award, Osaka in Japan. That same year he became an honorary doctor at the Royal College of Art in London.

In Wegner’s hometown Tønder in Southern Jutland, the old water tower has been converted into a Wegner museum. On a walk up through the water tower, you are presented on the individual floors of Wegner’s furniture.

Poul Kjærholm 1929-1980

The story behind


Poul kjaerholm (1929-1980) was a Danish cabinet maker and designer. 

Kjærholm was a trained carpenter and continued his studies at the Danish School of Fine Arts. He had an interest in different construction materials; especially steel which he considered a natural material with the same artistic finness as other natural materials. Kjaerholm was employed at Fritz Hansen for about a year, where he designed several noteworthy chair prototypes. In 1955 Poul Kjaerholm initiated his collaboration with manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christensen, which lasted until Poul Kjaerholm’s death in 1980. In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of “The Kjærholm Collection”, developed from 1951 to 1967. Designs, which are logical to the minute detail with an aura of exclusivity. 

Kaare Klint 1888-1954

The story behind


Kaare Klint (1888-1954) was a Danish architect and furniture designer.  

He began as a student at the office of his father, P.V. Jensen Klint and the architect Carl Petersen. In order to produce furniture in the right dimensions, Klint was interested in the human body’s joints and movements. So all of his designs were made with the outmost focus on comfort. In 1923, Klint joined the Academy of Fine Arts at the School of Furniture Art and in 1924 he became an associate professor. In 1944 he became professor of architecture. 

Arne Vodder 1926-2009

The story behind


Arne Vodder (1926-2009) was a Danish architect and designer. 

Vodder was educated as a cabinet maker by Niels Vodder at the School of Interior Design in the mid 1940s. Further educated as an architect in 1947 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen with Finn Juhl as a teacher and a mentor.  

Vodder started a very productive partnership with the designer George Tanier. With this partnership Vodder developed some of his best designs in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

Flemming Lassen 1902-1984

The story behind


Flemming Lassen (1902-1984) was a Danish architect and furniture designer. 

Lassen was in his early days employed at a couple of different design studios where the job at the childhood friend and boarding school companion, Arne Jacobsen´s design studio, appears to be the most prominent one. Here he worked until 1939. Later he became independant and he started his own design studio. He was teacher at the School of Fine Arts in the School of Architecture department. 

Viggo Boesen 1907-1985

The story behind


Viggo Boesen (1907-1985) was a Danish architect and furniture designer who is known for his experimental modern furniture made with rattan. 

Boesen became an architect in the 1930s. He was among the architects who introduced the new villa style, Funkis stylewhich quickly became popular among the general population. 

Arne Jacobsen 1902-1971

The story behind


Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) was a Danish architect and designer. 

After briefly working in the architecture firm of Poul Holsøe, Jacobsen, in collaboration with the fellow architect Flemming Lassen won the House of the Future award from the Danish Architect’s Association. This success enabled him to open his own practice in 1929. Over the next several years, Jacobsen created numerous structures in the International Modern Style, and subscribed to the idea of “total design,” creating everything from the furniture and fittings to the uniforms of the building’s employees. 

During World War II, Jacobsen was forced to flee to Sweden, where he spent a majority of his time designing wallpaper and textiles. In 1945, he returned to Denmark, and resumed his architectural pursuits, which included The Number Seven Chair and The Ant chair, launching his reputation as a world-renowned furniture designer. 

Acton Bjørn 1910-1992

The story behind


Acton Bjørn (1910-1992) was a Danish architect and designer.

Bjørn went to the Technical Society’s School 1926-30 and graduated as a carpenter in 1931 and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture in 1933. He then participated in the construction of the residential building Blidah Park in Hellerup together with Ivar Bentsen and Jørgen Berg. He was also employed in surveying work for the Royal Danish Garden Society and as an employee of architect Vilhelm Lauritzen.

During World War II, he began to draw i.a. furniture and wallpaper. In 1947, he was employed for six months at Vattenbyggnadsbyrån (VBB) in Stockholm with a view to controlling the installation of Malene Bjørn’s fitting of two Boeing aircraft for SAS in the United States.

Later, together with Sigvard Bernadotte, he established (1950) the first Scandinavian design studio dedicated to industrial design. Berndotte & Bjørn became known for products in metal and plastic in many areas, but they became especially known for the Margrethe bowl, produced by Rosti from 1955 and exported to most of the world. Internationally, Bernadotte & Bjørn also became known for the design of typewriters and calculators for the manufacturers Facit, Original-Odhner and Contex. From 1966 to 1990, Acton Bjørn ran the design studio alone.

He received numerous awards: Gold Medal at the California State Fair for Design; honorary award from the 2nd Allgemeine Produktschau, Vienna 1966; gold medal at the 2nd Biennial for Industrial Design, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia 1966, Eurostar 1961 Denmark (2 times), 1963 Germany, 1968 France and packaging-Oskar 1968 France and packaging-World Star 1970 France.

Preben Fabricius 1931-1984

The story behind


Preben Juul Fabricius (1931–1984) was a Danish furniture designer who worked together with Jørgen Kastholm. During the 1960s, the pair designed a wide range of pieces for the German Alfred Kill who had a furniture factory in Fellbach near Stuttgart.

Fabricius was trained as a cabinetmaker by Niels Vodder before attending the School for Interior Design where he studied under Finn Juhl. It was there that he met the blacksmith Jørgen Kastholm. They had a common approach to furniture design, never wanting to compromise on aesthetics. In 1961, the pair set up a design studio in a Gentofte cellar without any firm arrangements with manufacturers. In 1965, they exhibited at the furniture fair in Fredericia where the German furniture manufacturer Alfred Kill noticed their work. Kill had a reputation for high quality but initially Fabricius and Kastholm were not keen to design furniture for factory production. Only when Kill offered them DM 2,500 a month each, with no preconditions, did they agree to work for him. They travelled to Stuttgart with their first designs for production in Kill’s factory in nearby Fellbach. Their international breakthrough came at the Cologne Fair in 1966 when they exhibited a whole series of office and home furniture leading to orders from ten large furniture concerns. Their minimalistic designs, both attractive and comfortable, were usually in steel and leather. The Tulip Chair, the Grasshopper Chair and the Scimitar Chair are among their most successful works.

The pieces of furniture they produced during their seven-year period of cooperation from 1961 to 1968 were so distinctive that many are still produced today as classics. As a result of disagreements, the pair decided to terminate their cooperation in 1968.

Fabricius and Kastholm was awarded the Illum Prize (1968) and the first German Gute Form prize for their FK Tulip chair (1969

Jørgen Kastholm 1931-2007

The story behind


Born in Roskilde, Kastholm first trained as a smith but soon turned to furniture design. He attended the School for Interior Design in Copenhagen where he studied under Finn Juhl. At the beginning of the 1960s, working in Lebanon, he was inspired to design the Scimitar Chair. He also furnished the SAS office there.

It was while studying at the Design School that Kastholm met cabinetmaker Preben Fabricius who became his partner for a number of years. They had a common approach to furniture design, never wanting to compromise on quality. Speaking of their partnership, Kastholm commented: “We had the same basic approach, we both wanted to minimize. I had been to the United States and seen furniture by Eames and Mies van der Rohe and it inspired us. The simplest lasts longest. At school we had learnt that timelessness was an ideal.

In 1961, the pair set up a design studio in a Gentofte cellar without any firm arrangements with manufacturers. In 1965, they exhibited at the furniture fair in Fredericia where the German furniture manufacturer Alfred Kill noticed their work. Kill had a reputation for high quality but initially Favricius and Kastholm were not keen to design furniture for factory production. Only when Kill offered them DM 2,500 a month each, with no preconditions, did they agree to work for him. They travelled to Stuttgart with their first designs for production in Kill’s factory in nearby Fellbach. Their international breakthrough came at the Cologne Fair in 1966 when they exhibited a whole series of office and home furniture leading to orders from ten large furniture concerns. Their minimalistic designs, both attractive and comfortable, were usually in steel and leather. The Tulip Chair FK 6725, the Grasshopper Chair FK 87 and the Scimitar Chair are among their most successful works. The Tulip Chair FK 6725 has become famous as Meryl Streep´s office chair in the film “The Devil Wears Prada”.

The pieces of furniture they produced during their seven-year period of cooperation from 1961 to 1968 were so distinctive that many are still produced today as classics. As a result of disagreements, the pair decided to terminate their cooperation in 1968.

Kastholm was later appointed professor at Bergische Universität in Wuppertal near Düsseldorf where he taught design from 1975 to 1996. He also designed furniture at his office in Germany as well as in his house in the mountains on the island of Majorca.

Fabricius 1931-1984 & Kastholm 1931-2007

The story behind


Preben Fabricius (1931-1984) and Jørgen Kastholm (1931-2007) founded a design studio, Fabricius & Kastholm, together in 1961. The Danish designers met while studying interior design and desired to create timeless functional designs that were simple and had the aesthetic of minimalism. Fabricius and Kastholm primarily created pieces with leather, glass, or steel; they found inspiration in the sturdiness of Scandinavian designs in the sixties. In 1969, the pair was awarded the German Gute Form prize for the famous FK 87 Grasshopper Chair and the FK armchairs.

C.B. Hansen 19th-20th C.

The story behind


C.B. Hansens Etablissement, kgl. hof-møbelfabrik was a Danish furniture joinery and upholstery and decoration company (bedding, upholstery work, etc.) founded on 16 December 1830 by the royal court chair maker Christopher Bagnæs Hansen (1806-1868).

Originally it made only chairs, but grew rapidly and became from 1838 a furniture factory when C.B. Hansen was granted permission to make “veneered and inlaid furniture of fine strangers as well as of domestic woods”. In 1867, C.B. Hansen due to weakness his business to his son Charles Hansen (1836-1895) and son-in-law Lars Larsen (1821-1902), who in 1849 had become foreman at C.B. Hansen. Lars Larsen was a co-owner until 1894.

As early as the 19th century, C.B. Hansen the country’s leading company of its kind. At the World’s Fairs in London in 1851 (a neo-rococo desk) and in Paris in 1855 (an oak bookcase, which was purchased in 1879 as a bridal gift for Princess Thyra), C.B. Hansen as the important representative of Danish carpentry, as well as at the exhibition in Copenhagen in 1852.

The owner was since 1927: Mrs. J. Johansen (1881-1973). The factory closed in the post-war period (later than the 1950s).

Trap Danmark mentions in 1906 that the highest annual turnover has been approx. 600,000 DKK, and that the company employs approx. 100 workers and salaried employees.

In 1843, C.B. Hansen bought Erichsens Palæ on Kongens Nytorv (Holmens Kanal 2). In 1888, his widow, Jacobine Krause (1819-1892), sold the mansion to Kjøbenhavns Handelsbank for DKK 425,000, but the company remained in the neighboring property, Holmens Kanal 4, and also set up a factory in Adelgade 82. In 1905, the company sold Holmens Kanal 3 to Handelsbanken for DKK 300,000. Later CB moved Hansen’s Establishment to Store Kongensgade and later to Bredgade 32.

Børge Mogensen 1914-1972

The story behind


Børge Mogensen 1914-1972 was trained as a cabinetmaker with a journeyman’s certificate in 1934. Educated as a furniture architect at the Artisan School’s Furniture College 1936-38 and at the Academy of Fine Arts’ Furniture School 1938-42. Employed at Kaare Klint’s and Mogens Koch’s design studios 1938-42. Leader of the Fællesforeningen for Danmarks Brugsforeningers (FDB) furniture design studio 1942-50. Teacher at the Art Academy’s Furniture School 1945-47. Own design studio from 1950. Participated in Snedkerlauget’s annual furniture exhibitions and in the National Association of Danish Arts and Crafts exhibitions in Denmark and abroad. Separate exhibition in London 1961. Has, among other things, designed furniture series for master carpenter Erhard Rasmussen, AB Karl Andersson & Söner, Curt Danel, Fredericia Stolefabrik A / S, Fritz Hansens Eftf A / S, P. Lauritzen & Søns Møbelfabrik, C.M. Madsens Fabrikker. Designed from 1953 home textiles for the textile company C. Olesen’s Cotil collection.

Awarded Eckersbergs Medal 1950 and C.F. Hansen’s Medal 1972.

Mogens Lassen 1901-1987

The story behind


Mogens Lassen (1901-1987) was a Danish architect who was a central figure in functionalism. He was the brother of Flemming Lassen, who was also an architect.

Mogens Lassen was born in 1901 as the son of a decorative painter, later a coffee distillery owner Hans Vilhelm Lassen and the painter Ingeborg Winding and thus a grandson of the composer August Winding. He was a mason and studied at the Technical School in Copenhagen 1919-23, after which he was employed at various design studios, most recently with Tyge Hvass 1925-34. He received his architectural education through working in various design studios. During his stay in France (at Christiani & Nielsen) 1927-28, he became acquainted with Le Corbusier’s revolutionary works, which gave him impulses to design innovative modern villas in reinforced concrete on Danish soil.

He had his own design studio from 1935, was censor for Den Permanente 1939-46 and architect for the same 1939-67 as well as a member of judging committees at several architectural competitions.

He traveled to Dresden in 1923, France (with Christiani & Nielsen) 1927-28, Stockholm 1930, Germany 1932, London 1948, Germany and Italy 1954, Ireland 1963, 1964 and 1968.

Lassen exhibited at Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition 1934, 1938-39, 1941, 1952, 1954, Danish Crafts, National Museum, Stockholm 1943; Danish exhibition, The Hague 1948; Contemporary Danish Art, Lyon Museum 1953; Charlottenborg Autumn Exhibition 1954; Individual Habitations in Denmark, Paris 1955; National Association of Danish Crafts, Lyngby Stadium 1963; furniture at Snedkerlauget’s exhibition; The Permanent. Separate exhibitions at the Museum of Art and Design in 1972 and the Aarhus Museum of Art in 1972.

During his life he received many honors: Bissens Prize 1939, Gentofte Municipality Diploma 1950, Gentofte Municipality Prize 1954, Academic Architects Association Medal of Honor 1971, C.F. Hansen Medals 1971.

In 1962, he designed the iconic Kubus candlestick, which, however, was not put into production until the 1980s by his grandson Søren Lassen. Sales of the Kubus candlestick grew by 30 percent in the first 15 years, but have since 2011 been a huge success with an increase in sales of 80-100% per year. In December 2014, more than 1,000 Kubus candlesticks were sold per day

Johan Rohde 1856-1935

The story behind


Johan Gudmann Rohde (1856-1935) was a Danish painter, designer and lithographer.

Rohde is the son of merchant Herman Peter Rohde and Ane Marie, born Schmidt. After becoming a student in 1875, he studied medicine and served his military service as an assistant in the navy. He changed tracks when he started taking classes at the Academy of Fine Arts, which he, however, found obsolete. He therefore helped to establish the Artists’ Free Study Schools, where from 1883 he studied under P.S. Krøyer and Laurits Tuxen. Rohde was a childhood friend of the author Henrik Pontoppidan, who as the artist himself was born and raised in Randers. Rohde is behind the portrait of this, which hangs at the National History Museum at Frederiksborg Castle.

Although Rohde belonged to the symbolist avant-garde of art, his design draws on a long tradition of ancient models. Shortly before he started designing furniture, he had been to Rome in 1896. Here he was inspired by the ancient Roman aesthetics, of which he saw distinguished examples in Pompeii and at the Museum of Antiquities in Naples. He also began collecting antique vases. Rohde never directly copied, but incorporated antique style elements into his own original design. Many of his furniture was initially made for friends and acquaintances, such as beds, cupboards and desks.

In 1906, Rohde’s long-standing collaboration with Georg Jensen began. The first works Georg Jensen made according to Rohde’s drawings – a cream-sugar set – clearly show the simplicity and elegance that Rohde strived for in his design. Sigurd Schultz describes how contemporary design must have appeared quite radically in all its simplicity. The set, which is made as two bowls, to which belongs a cream spoon, is not decorated with more than two soldered knobs on each side of the edge.

It is for the collaboration with Georg Jensen that Rohde’s silver work is especially remembered, even though he also provided drawings to Kgl. Hofjuveler A. Dragsted og Kgl. Court Jewels A. Michelsen. Rohde preferred Georg Jensen’s craftsmanship due to the silversmith’s special hammering technique and his use of oxidation to give the chiseled patterns depth. Stylistically, there seems to be broad agreement that Rohde’s classicism became a forerunner of Danish functionalism, both in silver work as well as in furniture design. Rohde himself writes in a letter to Sigurd Schultz, 1929:

“I sought for poor ability to avoid tastelessness, to bring forth a pure, simple style, to combat over-embroidery with ornaments that had no organic connection with the form, sought to get the material to its right. My first cupboard was quite square, straight up and down, without moldings, fillings or ornaments, and my first silver bowl was just as simple. It’s been 30 years since these things were made, and they probably did not strike then – now I think the style has struck through, even quite strongly.

Bjørn Wiinblad & Britta Drewsen

The story behind


In 1934 the Swedish artist Brita Drewsen (1887-1983) started a spinning mill and weaving mill in ”The Blue Factory” together with weaver Gudrun Clemens. They produced rugs, furnishing fabrics, and furnishing which was bought by discerning customers. In 1965 Brita Drewsen moved the factory to Glostrup.

Brita Drewsen’s private home was in ”The Blue Factory”, but alongside she built a small ”fairy-tale house” as it was called in several home feature stories. The house was 110 square metres and filled with her own furniture design. When Wiinblad took over the house he decorated it with his own design, everything from wallpaper to curtains, bedclothes and furniture.

In 1966 Bjorn Wiinblad took over ”The Blue House” which was his base till he passed away in 2006. During the first years Brita Drewsen stayed in her small house situated at one end of the large site. Bjorn Wiinblad and Brita Drewsen arranged several garden exhibitions jointly consisting of their own design, both arts and crafts plus furniture

Jens H. Quistgaard 1919-2008

The story behind


Jens Harald Quistgaard (1919–2008) was a Danish sculptor and designer, known principally for his work for the American company Dansk Designs, where he was chief designer from 1954 and for the following three decades.

Though a sculptor and grounded in traditional handicrafts, he quickly established a career as an industrial designer. From the mid-1950s his tableware and kitchenware designs became synonymous with Scandinavian modern and found their way into millions of homes in the USA, Europe and Japan. With his international orientation and success he was groundbreaking, and he had great significance for the place which Danish design acquired in the minds of many Americans.

In 1958, he received the Neiman Marcus Award and during the following years he was represented at major museums in Europe and the USA. Many of Jens Quistgaard’s works are still produced today.

Jens Quistgaard grew up in an artistic home in Copenhagen and already as a boy, demonstrated unusual artistic talents. The work with handicrafts began in his mothers kitchen, where he made himself a little workshop with vice and anvil. Here he produced jewellery, hunting knives, bags and ceramics. When he was young Jens Quistgaard would often be found at the village smiths, carpenters or joiners, and it was here he acquired the craftsmanship which he later used to produce models in wood, metal, ceramic and glass. He was trained as a sculptor by his father, Harald Quistgaard, and was later educated as a drawer and silversmith at the technical school in Copenhagen. During the occupation of Denmark he was active in the Resistance movement.

Quistgaard started his career drawing portraits. He also produced jewellery, hunting knives, ceramic works, glass and graphic design in the form of monograms. At the end of the 1940s his production also included cutlery in silver and steel for different companies, amongst others the silvery cutlery set Champagne (1947 for O.V. Mogensen) and kitchen utensils in steel for Raadvad, including the little shark fin can opener from 1950. His breakthrough as an industrial designer came in 1953-54, where he fashioned the cutlery set Fjord, the first cutlery set that combined stainless steel with handles of teak.

Around the same time he designed a saucepan in cast iron for De Forenede Jernstøberier A/S (United Iron Foundries). The pan was marketed under the name Anker-Line and was awarded the gold medal at the Triennale in Milan in 1954. In the same year, Quistgaard also received the Lunning Prize. 1954 was also the year American businessman Ted Nierenberg visited Europe, on the lookout for talented design which could be launched in the USA. After having seen the cutlery set Fjord at the Danish Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen, he sought out the designer, and their meeting led to the foundation of the American company Dansk Designs with Quistgaard as chief designer.

Already towards the end of 1954, Fjord was introduced in New York, followed the year after by the colourful saucepan range Kobenstyle. Quistgaards designs were a big success from the beginning in the USA and were quickly followed by a series of tableware and kitchenware designs: cutlery in silver and handcrafted steel; jugs and saucepans in steel, copper and cast iron; crockery in stoneware; glass; trays, bowls, pepper mills and other objects in staved teak and exotic wood sorts, as well as candlesticks in brass, silver and cast iron.

Quistgaard was hugely productive and for Danish Designs alone fashioned more than 4000 products. It is a production which spans a large range of materials and utility items, and which is created from a philosophy that utility items for the kitchen and the table should function together harmoniously. To set the table and arrange with Quistgaard’s designs became from the end of the 1950s and during the 1960s identical with “modern living” and Scandinavian style. Where clean lines, sculptural form and natural materials went hand in hand.

The end of the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s were Quistgaard’s most productive years for Dansk Designs. In 1958 he designed the cutlery set Toke in steel and bamboo as well as the dinner set Flamestone in stoneware; the cutlery set Tjorn in sterling silver from 1959, the Festivaal line from 1960 of lacquered bowls and trays in many colors, together with a series of industrial designs in exotic wood sorts, Rare Woods from 1961. The series together with the other woodware was produced by Nissens Woodworking Factory in Denmark, which Quistgaard also designed special works for in the 1960s, amongst others the unusual Stick chair from 1966.

At the end of the 1950s Jens Quistgaard began designing and overseeing the construction of a large villa in Armonk, north of New York, for his American business partner Ted Nierenberg. Quistgaard designed everything, from the large roof constructions and window sections to the doorhandles, bathtub and spiral staircase. The villa was completed in 1961 as a demonstration of Quistgaard’s ideal about architectural wholeness.

Quistgaard’s success escalated throughout the 1960s. His works for Dansk Designs were marketed in all major cities in the USA, but he was also successful in Europe and Japan. Dansk Designs started their own shop in the High Street in Copenhagen, in London and in Stockholm, and Quistgaard’s designs were exhibited and sold in Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, Zürich, Melbourne, Johannesburg and many other big cities.

Quistgaard continued as chief designer for Dansk Designs until the start of the 1980s, when he moved to Rome. He lived there until 1993, and returned to Denmark, where he continued to design until a few months before his death in 2008. In 2006 he received an honorary grant from the Danish National Banks Anniversary Fund of 1968, and in 2009 was portrayed as a person and as a designer in the documentary film “A Saucepan for My Wife

Servex, Sweden 20th C.

The story behind


Servex made teak veneer trash cans, bowls, ice buckets and coasters around the 1950s and one designer named is Martin Åberg. The company also went by the name Rainbow Wood Products Inc. Curiously, Swedish brand Carlsson speakers were fitted in the trash can.

Items marked Servex / Serwex, Sewex, Made in Sweden, International Designers Guild, Made in Sweden, Rainbow Wood Products Inc.

Paavo Tynell 1890-1973

The story behind


Paavo Viljo Tynell (1890–1973) was a Finnish designer who is best known for his lighting fixtures and lamps. Among other things, Tynell designed the lighting for the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York and for the Parliament House and Lasipalatsi building in Helsinki
Tynell attended the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki, and he taught metalwork there from 1917 to 1923. He was one of the founders and the main designer of Taito company, and managing director of the firm from 1918 to 1953. The founders included designer Eric O. W. Ehrström, sculptor Emil Wikström, goldsmith Frans Nykänen and Gösta Serlachius who acted as investor. He collaborated with distinguished Finnish architects, including Alvar Aalto, and his lamps were widely sold not only in Finland but in the United States too, where his designs were popular especially in the 1950s. He used brass and glass in an elegant and simple fashion, and his designs were often decorated with perforated patterns

As the head of metalwork and in charge of designing light fixtures, Taito and Tynell worked in close cooperation with architects. In particular, Tynell designed light fixtures for a building at Helsinki University of Technology, realised by architect Armas Lindgren. From this point, private homes started to be fitted with light fixtures, and Taito’s factory relocated to larger premises and hired more workers. Taito’s first catalogue showcasing only light fixtures was released in 1932

Piet Hein 1905-1996

The story behind


Piet Hein (1905–1996) was a Danish polymath (mathematician, inventor, designer, author and poet), often writing under the Old Norse pseudonym Kumbel, meaning “tombstone”. His short poems, known as gruks or grooks, first started to appear in the daily newspaper Politikken shortly after the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940 under the pseudonym “Kumbel Kumbell”. He also invented the Soma cube and the board game Hex.

Hein, a direct descendant of Piet Pieterszoon Hein, the 17th century Dutch naval hero, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen (later to become the Niels Bohr Institute), and Technical University of Denmark. Yale awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1972.

n 1959, city planners in Stockholm, Sweden announced a design challenge for a roundabout in their city square Sergels Torg. Piet Hein’s winning proposal was based on a superellipse. He went on to use the superellipse in the design of furniture and other artifacts. He also invented a perpetual calendar called the Astro Calendar and marketed housewares based on the superellipse and its three-dimensional analog, the superegg.

Svend Aage Holm Sørensen 1913-2004

The story behind

Danish designer Svend Aage Holm Sørensen (1913-2004) is known for his self-produced lighting designs dating from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Despite the desirability of his designs on the vintage market, there is a lack of biographical information on the designer and his eponymous manufacturing company.

It is speculated that Holm Sørensen designed lights for well-known Danish lighting manufacturers Fog & Mørup andLyfa in the 1950s, before establishing his own lighting company, Holm Sørensen A/S to produce and distribute his own designs.

Holm Sørensen’s style varies greatly, with designs from the 1950s truly reflecting the mid-century modern lighting style, with clear influences from the De Stijl and Bauhaus movements. His attenuated floor and table lamps contain the classic tri-pod base that was popular at the time, referencing such designs as H. Th. J. A. Busquet´s Pinocchio Lamp from 1954.

From the 1960s onwards, Holm Sørensen’s style changed utterly. His designs diverged from colorful, geometric table lamps and floor lamps, to pendants with unfinished brass and copper surfaces. These pendant lamps showcase Holm Sørensen’s interpretation of the Brutalist style, which was popular from the 1950s to the mid-70s. Originally coined by the Swedish architect Hans Asplund, the style  was internationally espoused by many iconic designers, including Le Corbusier.

Erik Gunnar Asplund 1885-1940

The story behind


Erik Gunnar Asplund (1885–1940) was a Swedish architect, mostly known as a key representative of Nordic Classicism of the 1920s, and during the last decade of his life as a major proponent of the modernist style which made its breakthrough in Sweden at the Stockholm International Exhibitionin 1930. Asplund was professor of architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology from 1931. His appointment was marked by a lecture, later published under the title “Our architectonic concept of space. The Woodland Crematorium at Stockholm South Cemetery (1935-1940) is considered his finest work and one of the masterpieces of modern architecture.

Among Asplund’s most important works is the Stockholm Public Library, constructed between 1924 and 1928, which stands as the prototypical example of the Nordic Classicism and so-called Swedish Grace movement. It was particularly influential on the proposal submitted for the competition for the design of the Viipuri Library in 1927 by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who regarded Asplund as his mentor.

Another important work is the extension of the Gothenburg Courthouse Extension building which Asplund started on 1913 and finished 1937 – it shows his transformation from neo-classical to Functionalist architect, a transformation in parallel with other European modernists like Erich Mendelsohn.

Asplund collaborated with architect Sigurd Lewerentz in the design of Skogskyrkogården, a cemetery which is a UNESCO world heritage site, created between 1914 and 1940. Although temporary, the modernist, exposed-glass-and-steel-frame Entry Pavilion at the fair was internationally influential.

Gunnar Asplund is considered perhaps the most important modernist Swedish architect and has had a major influence on later generations of Swedish and Nordic architects

Alvar Aalto 1898-1976

The story behind


Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (1898–1976) was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware, as well as sculptures and paintings. He never regarded himself as an artist, seeing painting and sculpture as “branches of the tree whose trunk is architecture”. Aalto’s early career ran in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the 20th century. Many of his clients were industrialists, among them the Ahlström-Gullichsen family. The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism of the early work, to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards.

Typical for his entire career is a concern for design as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art, in which he – together with his first wife Aino Aalto – would design the building, and give special treatment to the interior surfaces, furniture, lamps and glassware. His furniture designs are considered Scandinavian Modern, in the sense of a concern for materials, especially wood, and simplification but also technical experimentation, which led him to receiving patents for various manufacturing processes, such as bent wood. As a designer he is celebrated as the inventor of bent plywood furniture. The Alvar Aalto Museum, designed by Aalto himself, is located in what is regarded as his home city Jyväskylä.

Whereas Aalto was famous for his architecture, his furniture designs were well thought of and are still popular today. He studied Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte, and for a period of time, worked under Eliel Saarinen. He also gained inspiration from Gebrüder Thonet. During the late 1920s and 1930s he, working closely with Aino Aalto, also focusing much of his energy on furniture design, partly due to the decision to design much of the individual furniture pieces and lamps for the Paimio Sanatorium. Of particular significance was the experimentation in bent plywood chairs, most notably the so-called Paimio chair, which had been designed for the sitting tuberculosis patient, and the Model 60 stacking stool. The Aaltos, together with visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl founded the Artek company in 1935, ostensibly to sell Aalto products but also other imported products. He became the first furniture designer to use the cantilever principle in chair design using wood

Christian Frederik Møller 1898-1988

The story behind


Christian Frederik Møller (1898–1988), generally referred to as C. F. Møller, was a Danish architect, professor and, from 1965 to 1969, the first rector of the Aarhus School of Architecture. His former practice, Arkitektfirmaet C. F. Møller, which he founded in 1924, still exists and bears his name. It is today the largest architectural firm in Denmark with branch offices in several countries.

Christian Frederik Møller was born in Skanderborg, Denmark. He was the son of Valdemar Møller and Nielssine Dalby.

He first trained as a mason and later studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1920. He conducted study trips to England  (1925); Germany, Italy and France (1927); Germany, Switzerland and Italy (1937). He exhibited at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition during 1952–64, 1973, 1978, 1985.

He set up his own architectural office C.F. Møller in 1924, and in 1928 formed a partnership with the architect and Professor Kay Fisker (1893–1965) which lasted until 1942. After winning first prizes in the competitions for Aarhus Community Hospital in 1930 and Aarhus University in 1931, they established an office in Aarhus in 1932. Their buildings also include the apartment blocks 2 Vodroffsvej (1930) and Vestersøhus (1935–39) in Copenhagen, the latter of which has remained a major influence on Danish housing architecture.

Their winning proposal for Aarhus University consisted of individual faculty buildings arranged along the margin of an undulating park setting. The first building at the site was completed in 1933. By the early 40s, the collaboration with Fisker had ended and C. F. Møller was left to complete the Aarhus University alone. Møller was present at the construction site when the British Royal Air Force bombed the University dormitories, which were occupied by the Gestapo, on 31 October 1944. During the attack, a bomb accidentally struck the main building, and Møller was lightly injured as a result, while about ten members of the construction crew were killed. The main building was completed in 1946 and the so-called Book Tower in 1962. Later works include Salling Department Store im Aarhus (1949, with Gunnar Krohn), Angligården (1965, later Herning Art Museum) and Egetæpper in Herning (1984). Møller was Royal Building Inspector from 1953 to 1968, and in 1965 he became the first rector of the newly founded Aarhus School of Architecture.

Kaj Gottlob 1887-1976

The story behind


Niels August Theodor Kaj Gottlob, usually known as Kaj Gottlob, (1887–1976) was a Danish architect who contributed much to Neoclassicism and Functionalism both as professor of the School of Architects at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and as a royal building inspector.

After qualifying from Borgerdyd School in 1905, Gottlob attended the Technical School (1905-1908) and the Royal Academy, graduating as an architect in 1914. At the time, he was one of the young neoclassicists who used to meet at the Free Architecture Society (Den fri Architektforening). He taught at the Technical School (1915–17) and was an assistant at the Royal Academy’s Building School (1917–24). Between 1912 and 1923, he travelled to Greece, London, North Africa, Italy, Paris and Vienna.

After first working as an assistant at the Academy’s School of Architecture in 1917, he was appointed professor in 1924. In 1936, he succeeded Kristoffer Varming as royal building inspector and, in 1938, gave up his post as professor at the Academy.

As a young man, Gottlob showed interest in classical architecture, influenced in part by the English Arts and Crafts movement. Works in the 1920s include a residence at 45 Dalgas Boulevard (1924) and St Luke’s Church in Århus (1926). But like his peers, he soon turned to Nordic Neoclassicism, appreciating its sober, contemporary style. This can be seen in his Danish Student Hostel in Paris, completed in 1929. Though it was hardly international modernism, it was something of a breakthrough for Scandinavia. In designing Ørstedhus in 1934, Gottlob maintained some of the classical ideals, especially with the symmetry and hierarchical form of the facade. Standing on the corner of Gyldenløvsgade and Vester Farimagsgade in Copenhagen, the building was constructed by the cement firm Christiani & Nielsen. It is therefore not surprising that it was made of concrete and that, unusually for an office building, the facade remained uncovered. The windows were mounted in finely shaped frames and the pillars at the main entrance were lined with stainless steel.

Gottlob’s designs for a series of Copenhagen schools represented a break with classicism. In Katrinedal School (1935), the large central hall or aula served as an example for many Danish schools in subsequent years. Svagbørnsskole (1937), constructed in conjunction with Skolen ved Sundet, has south-facing fully glazed windows, opening onto the school yard. Both schools have aulas, symbolising modernism’s concern for light, air, health and nature. Gottlob’s largest project was for the university buildings at Nørrefælled. The additions, which include the school of dentistry and the zoological museum, were completed in stages in the 1940s and the 1950s. The area was conceived as an open park development where the trees played an important role. Gottlob’s relatively low buildings, clad in light travertine, respected the approach but later additions led to crowding.

As the architect responsible for the renewal of the two old bridges over Copenhagen’s harbour, he demonstrated his ability to combine attractive design with components created by engineers. Knippelsbro and Langebro, which play such an important part in the city, are among the finest examples of 1930s modernism in Denmark.

Other meaningful contributions by Gottlob in the 1930s were the furniture and fittings for the houses he designed. He also designed furniture for the Danish pavilion at the 1925 World Exhibition in Paris which was successfully exhibited by the cabinetmaker A. J. Iversen with whom he worked for a number of years. His furniture in an increasingly modern style could often be seen in the exhibitions at the Design Museum. An early example of his furniture is the Klismos Chair (1922), produced by Fritz Hansen in ash.

Christian Dell 1893-1974

The story behind


Dell was born in Offenbach am Main in Hesse. From 1907-11 he completed the silver forging studies at the academy. In 1912-13 he studied at the Saxon college of arts and crafts in Weimar. From 1922-25 he worked as a foreman of the metal workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar. In 1926 he changed to the Frankfurt art school. The Nazi Party did not allow him to stay there in 1933, but Walter Gropius offered him a job in the United States. However, Dell decided to remain in Germany.

After World War II, Dell manufactured silver goods and opened a jewellery shop in Wiesbaden in 1948, which he operated until 1955. He died in Wiesbaden in 1974.

Beginning in 1926 Dell sketched lights, at first for the New-Frankfurt-project. As an early industrial designer and pioneer of plastic design, Dell used bakelite and aminoplatics as materials for his works for Molitor-Zweckleuchten in 1929-30. Well known are the lights for the lamp factory Gebr. Kaiser & Co. in Neheim Hüsten beginning in 1933-34, which were produced in large quantities.

Itsu, Finland mid 19th C.

The story behind


Itsu is short for Itä-Suomen Sähkö (eng. Eastern Finland Electricity). Kaarlo Hildén, who was CEO at Idman from 1945 to 1955, became CEO in 1961 at Itsu Oy, Itä-Suomalainen Sähkö Oy and Sähkökaluste Oy. These companies were all owned by Idman and Itsu defaulted in 1966. Idman oy was finally dissolved in 1987.

Much of Itsu’s production had resemblance to works by Paavo Tynell and Tapio Wirkkala although neither worked for Itsu at any point. It’s believed that Itsu copied or were influenced by the style of Idman’s light fixtures and since Mr. Tynell and Wirkkala worked for Idman it was an easy choice to make.

Lisa Johansson-Pape 1907 – 1989

The story behind


Lisa Johansson-Pape (1907–1989) was a Finnish designer, best known for her work in lighting. She was the most significant Finnish lighting designer in the second half of the 1900s. Her priorities were first about the functions then the design.

After graduating in 1927 from the Central School of Arts and Crafts she went on to work for Kylmäkoski designing furniture. In 1933 she joined the Friends of Finnish Handicraft. She designed furniture for Stockmann in 1937 and in 1942 she designed for the Stockmann owned lighting factory Orno. Her attention turned towards lighting and she co-founded the Illuminating Engineering Society of Finland and she became the artistic director of the Friends of Finnish Handicraft from 1951–1985.

Johansson-Pape also created installations for 150 churches, including Eckerö Church, Helsinki Children’s Hospital, a rheumatic clinic and for the ships Ilmatar, Aallotar, Finnpartner, Finnhansa and the icebreaker Karhu.

Johansson-Pape also lectured at the School of Industrial Art and wrote articles about lighting. She was also an exhibition architect and organized rug and lighting exhibitions. Her work was presented in New York´s World Fair of 1939 and the Milan Triennial IX, where she won an award in 1951. The hanging lamp made of opal glass that Johansson-Pape designed for Ittala won a gold at the 1954 Milan Triennale. In 1957 Johansson-Pape was awarded the Pro Finlandia prize. In 1963 she designed several vases for Iittala.

Bodil Manz b. 1943

The story behind


Bodil Manz is a ceramicist known for her predominant use of ultra-thin, translucent eggshell porcelain to create distinctive cylindrical forms, anchored by bold, geometric abstractions in a style evocative of Russian Suprematism. Much in the way Morandi approached a still life or Albers the square, her engagement with the cylinder form ad infinitum is study in the master’s ability to extract sublime nuance from the seemingly quotidien. In her own words – “Focusing and concentrating on a single object such as a sphere, a square, a cylinder, a cup, fundamentally something quite ordinary, the stuff of everyday life, [seems] indeed almost banal. But during the process we discovered fresh aspects, and suddenly ‘the ordinary’ became a new experience.

Manz studied ceramics at the School of Arts & Craft in Copenhagen, and in 1966 she studied at La Escuela de Diseno y Artesanias in Mexico and also at Berkeley University in California. Her work is included in numerous prestigious collections including: the Museum of Modern Art New York, Victoria and Albert in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée de Sèvres, France and the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu, Japan.

Frits Schlegel 1896-1965

The story behind


Frits Schlegel (1896-1965) was a Danish functionalist architect who was the first to experiment with in situ cast concrete houses on Danish soil.

Schlegel’s parents were clerks and later inspectors at Frederiksberg Municipality’s poor service Carl Frederik Adolph Schlegel and Oline Alstrup. He became a bricklayer in 1915, graduated from the Technical School the following year and was prepared for the Academy of Fine Arts by Edvard Thomsen. Schlegel attended the Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, where he studied from September 1916 to 1923 and won the small gold medal in 1924 (for a stadium) and the large gold medal in 1927 (a university in Jutland). He was employed by Martin Borch 1916-17, by Edvard Thomsen 1916-34 and G.N. Brandt from 1920. The last two drawing studios became his primary educational institutions, where he could develop his excellent drawing talent.

Schlegel had his own studio from 1934 until his death in 1965. He was on study trips to France, England, Italy, Scandinavia and the United States. In addition to architecture, Schlegel created a number of art industries and furniture of a very modern design. He was a member of the board of Akademisk Arkitektforening 1944-48. He received the Zacharias Jacobsen Scholarship in 1926 and the Eckersberg Medal in 1941.

Ole Wanscher 1903-1985

The story behind


Ole Wanscher (1903-1985) was a Danish furniture architect, professor and author. His furniture and his teaching helped to build the international popularity of Danish furniture design in the post-war period.

He attended Plockross’ School, Hellerup, but did not graduate, was an assistant at the National Museum in 1924 (Vitskøl Kloster) and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in the 1940s. He was employed by Kaare Klint 1925-27. He had his own drawing studio from 1928 and also worked as a writer.

Wanscher received the Academy’s scholarship in 1929, Hirschsprung’s scholarship in 1936, Knud V. Engelhardt’s scholarship in 1939, scholarships from the New Carlsberg Foundation several times from 1947 and the Carpenters’ Guild’s Annual Prize in 1960.

He was a teacher in furniture drawing at the School of Crafts in Copenhagen 1931-36, technical consultant for the Danish Society for Nature Conservation 1937-44, secretary of the Academic Architects ‘Association’s competition committee 1939-49, member of the Academy of Fine Arts jury 1940-52, chairman of the architectural section 1949, leader of the Danish Architects’ Association’s exhibition committee from 1951. He was professor of furniture and space art at the Academy of Fine Arts 1955-73, member of the Academy Council 1963-68 and of the Academy 1968-78. He was on the board of Hergildt’s scholarship 1968-70 and sat on the board of the Museum of Art and Design in 1972. He was a Knight of Dannebrog.

Wanscher came to Berlin in 1934, the Netherlands, Belgium and France in 1948 and was on several trips in France, England and Italy since 1950 as well as Egypt in 1951.

He exhibited at Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition 1928-29 and 1940, at Copenhagen Carpenters’ Guild’s furniture exhibition 1931-66, the world exhibition in Brussels 1935, Paris 1937, Danish Arts and Crafts, Stockholm 1942, Danish Art Treasures, London 1948, Danish Decorative Art, Liljevalchs, Stockholm 1950, The Triennial in Milan 1957 (silver medal), same in 1960 (gold medal), Amsterdam 1961, Scandinavian Furniture Fair in the Bella Center from 1966 and the Museum of Industrial Art in Copenhagen 1984. His furniture was exhibited posthumously at Design Fair Asahikawa, Japan 1993.

Allan Schmidt 1923-1989

The story behind

Allan Schmidt alternately used oil painting, collage and ceramic sculpture. He started as a naturalist with figure paintings and landscapes, but in the years after World War II he came into contact with the French and Danish artists who worked with the concrete painting. In the late 1940s, he left the recognizable motifs and began working on constructive compositions. To make the images dynamic, he often used lines, consisting of three or four strong black lines next to each other, which go diagonally across the image, cracking and forming a new figure. At the same time, he began to make tight sculptures, either flimsy iron structures or cubic cement blocks that shift and together form a whole. In the mid-1950s, the images, often in tall, narrow formats, came to appear cubist due to overlapping plans. The colors became dark, saturated blue and green, warm red and orange. In the late 1950s, the shapes became freer, more round, and gathered around a vertical center axis or around the center of the image, from which they are wound toward the edge of the frame. Around 1960, he began working with color opposites, often triad, but also modulations over a single color, such as. I cried. The four large wall panels in the West Theater in Brabrand were among the tasks that show the possibilities of concrete art in decoration, but when S. was commissioned for the large relief for Horsens Central Library, he chose a new material, stoneware. He had not previously worked with ceramics, but initiated a collaboration with Kähler’s ceramic workshop. In the large polychrome work, the color and the fabric are united, the geometric architecture is transformed and connected with organic shapes in a subdued color scale, where white and blue and the tones in between dominate. Since then, he made several large decorations in this material, most recently Early Bird, inspired i.a. of the telesatellite of the same name. The two large bird-like reliefs are kept in the clay’s reddish-brown colors, added with gray-white and blue. Also in his smaller stoneware sculptures, S. often plays on the contrast between a sandy, rough surface and the smooth, colored glaze. At the same time, he gradually sought to open up the forms so that one could see what they contained. The form of expression is still nonfigurative, an organic, expressionist idiom, inspired by the forms of nature, most often fragments of the human body. In recent years, S. dealt more or less abstractly with the torso as a means of expression, while at the same time working with collagen. Persian faience, of which he, together with African sculptures, built a large collection, was one of his greatest sources of inspiration.

Jean René Gaugin 1881-1961

The story behind


Jean René Gauguin (1881-1961) was a French / Danish sculptor.
He was the son of the French painter Paul Gauguin and the Danish Mette, born Gad.  Jean René Gauguin was the second youngest of a sibling group of five.

Jean Gauguin was trained as a carpenter and worked for a time as a sailor. But it was the sculptures that drew him in, and he came to subsist as a sculptor, though he received no education in this field. As a sculptor, he worked with wood, bronze and stone. He became an artist at Bing & Grondahl in 1923, and he worked in faience for, among others, French Sèvres.

At the Olympics in 1924, he won a bronze medal for the bronze statue the Fistfighter. The Fistfighter is now at the Statens Museum for Kunst together with other of his sculptures.  A couple of his statues are located at Ceres Park & Arena in Aarhus, a version in plaster and cement of Nævefægteren (also called Urkraften, 1926) and Fodboldspillere (1936),  while Diskoskasteren at Riisvangen Stadion,  also in Aarhus, formerly stood at Ceres Park.

Michael Bloch

The story behind

Michael Bloch graduated as a cabinetmaker from the Technical School in Copenhagen in 1954. He was awarded a silver medal for a handmade teak cabinet that was exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild anniversary exhibition the same year. Bloch went on to the School of Architecture & Furniture in 1957 ,where his lecturers included the well-known architects Hans J. Wegner, Poul Kjærholm and Grete Jalk.

As a final examination from the School of Arts and Crafts, Michael Bloch was asked to design furniture and interiors for a planned academy of music in Copenhagen designed by Jørn Utzon. However, the plans were later abandoned, but the prototypes of the furniture and the drawings survived. While Bloch was employed by the architects Christian Erik and Aage Holst in 1957-77, he designed his own line of furniture and attracted buyers from both Europe and Japan. In 1988-90, Bloch was employed by Royal Building Inspector David Bretton Meyer.

Bloch was then employed by the Royal Civil List from 1992 as registrar and architect. During that period, Bloch designed a number of items of furniture for the Royal family.

Arne Hovmand-Olsen 1919-1989

The story behind

Danish furniture designer Arne Hovmand-Olsen was born in Kirkeby Sogn in 1919. During his formative years, Hovmand-Olsen showed an aptitude for drawing and design and, in 1938, began a cabinetry apprenticeship with the cabinetmaker Peder Olsen  from Sibast at his eponymous furniture manufactory on Denmark’s island of Funen. Interested in producing his own designs, Hovmand-Olsen enrolled in a technical school specializing in furniture design in Århus in 1941. After graduating, he established his own furniture studio, creating designs in the Scandinavian modern style. His furniture was sold only in Denmark but later found great success when it began to be exported to America.

Hovmand-Olsen’s designs span seating, tables, and secretaries, all of which are characteristically simple in form with clean lines, organic curves, and tapered legs. Like many of his Danish contemporaries, he favored the use of high-quality, beautifully grained woods like teak and rosewood. Notable designs include his Model 175 Chair (1955) and the Model 240 Lounge Chair for Mogens Kold (1958).

Hovmand-Olsen worked steadily designing furniture for companies such as Alf Juul Rasmussen, A. R. Klingenberg & Søn, Bramin, Elven Geertsen, J.L. Møller, Jutex, Mogens Kold Møbelfabrik, P. Mikklesen, Pedersen & Knap, and Skovmand & Andersen. Sometime in the 1970s, he was forced to close his studio due to illness.

Kai Kristiansen b. 1929

The story behind

Kai Kristiansen (born 1929) is a Danish furniture designer.

Kai Kristiansen was apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in 1949, after which he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts under Kaare Klint. He started his own design studio in 1955, where he collaborated with many Danish furniture manufacturers.

Some of Kristiansen’s most famous furniture are the chairs Model 42 (Z-chair), Model 31, Model 121 (lounge chair) and the shelf FM Reolsystem.

Svend Langkilde, 20th C.

The story behind

The Danish furniture designer Svend Langkilde, became especially known for his many beautiful pieces of furniture, which were made of rosewood. Svend Langkilde designed many different pieces of furniture, but the best known are probably the many different chests of drawers and sideboards.

The chests of drawers and sideboards were made of rosewood in the 60s, and have therefore in recent years been a popular product among connoisseurs, because furniture made of rosewood has once again been coveted in modern decor.

Svend Langkilde’s characteristic is the way he created the legs that were to carry the chest of drawers. These are shaped like a classic wooden wooden frame and were in the time when the chest of drawers was created a new and innovative way of thinking about a frame under a chest of drawers.

Another new and innovative way of making handles was Svend Langkilde’s integrated handles in some of his chests of drawers. They were round and were cut out in the doors of the chests of drawers. The well-known doors are a way in which many classic chests of drawers and so on were designed back in the 1960s and 70s, and which today go on to be a classic sign of the old retro furniture.

The special rose Butlers Tray table in rosewood was also designed with a co-frame. The table top has mounted fine brackets in brass, which means that the table can function both as a loose tray, but also as an elegant but different table top.

Erik Glemme 1905-1959

The story behind


Erik Glemme (1905-1959) was a Swedish designer and landscape architect.

He was born in Jönkôping, Sweden. He trained at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from 1927-1929. He apprenticed with architect Osvald Almqvist (1884–1950). He was employed at the Royal Institute of Technology as an assistant 1943-1947 and as a teacher 1947-1952. From 1936 to 1956 he was chief architect of the design office of the city of Stockholm Parks Department.

His work includes Mälarpaviljongen, a landscape park on Norr Mälarstrand, which he designed with landscape architect Holger Blom (1906-1996). Other notable works include the remodelling of Tegnérlunden and Vasaparken in Stockholm.

Romano Donà b. 1956

The story behind

Romano Donà was born in Murano in 1956 in a family with centuries of experience in glassmaking. He entered the furnace at an early age, beginning his apprenticeship with his father at the Fratelli Manfren Glassworks.
In 1975 he began working with the glass masterLivio Seguso, a collaboration that lasted for twenty years. Here Romano perfected his skills, not only in meeting the exacting demands of Seguso but also by collaborating with artists such as Henry Mavrodin, Federica Marangoni, Mimmo Rotella and Ugo Marano. He developed a talent for glass sculpture and in 1987 he won the Premio Murano award for glass masters.

In 1997 Romano began working at Stefano Toso Glassworks where he created his own original pieces and continued collaborations with other artists. This infusion of creative energy from designers such as Rodica Tanasescu, Antonio Meneghetti, Raffaele Rossi and David Farsi helped him in diversifying his skills. In 2000 with Silvano Belardinelli, the art director for a group of Japanese artists, he converted the designs of several Asian artists into glass.

In 2003 Romano began experimenting with the traditional Muranese techniques of filigrana and incalmo making the use of these centuries-old processes look entirely new. From this experiment originated a brand new Oggetti collection for the US market.

In the 2000s he continued his experiments with the collaboration of Lucio Bubacco to combine the lamp technique with solid glass. The result is a series of large vases with applied embossed landscapes.
Today Romano is retired.

Emile Gallé 1846 – 1904

The story behind

Emile Galle was born in France in 1846 and his training included art, botany, and chemistry, three subjects which he combined in his brilliant designs for glass and other mediums (pottery, furniture, jewelry). His father, Charles Galle, owned a glass and ceramics factory in Nancy. After much travelling and training, fighting in the war between France and Prussia, working for the glass company “Burgun, Schverer et Cie” in Meisenthal, Galle settled back in Nancy and set up his own glass studio in 1873 where he initially made classical forms of glass with classical, intricate, enamelled designs.

Moving on from these designs to botanical themes, again in enamelled glass, it was not until the 1878 International Exhibition in Paris, when Galle saw the work of his contemporaries such as John Northwood and Joseph Locke from England (cameo glass) and Eugene Rousseau (pate de verre) that he developed new and adventurous designs for his glass. Eleven years later at the Paris International Exhibition (1889) Galle exhibited his own new types of glass, including carved cameo work and many new colours. His achievements earned him recognition in the French Legion of Honour.

Even in those early years, Galle made two distinct qualities of glass. On the one hand his “poems in glass”, masterpieces that took hours and hours of patient work to make. And on the other hand, his high quality art glass designed to be less expensive to make but still an object of beauty, good enough to carry his signature. This was later to develop into what is today called “industrial Galle”.

In 1894 Galle built a massive new glassworks in Nancy, and ended his dependence on the Burgun, Schverer glassworks for producing some of his glass. He employed a team of craftsmen-designers, who worked to the edict that all Galle designs should be true to nature. Galle himself modified and approved these designs before they were made by teams of craftsmen in his Cristallerie D’Emile Galle.

Throughout the 1890’s Galle won awards at international exhibitions and recognition through commissions and popular demand for his work. His techniques and style were copied by many other glassmakers who advertised their glass as “Galle style”. He was a major influence on the Art Nouveau movement.

Galle died in 1904, whilst directing the work on new designs from his bed. After his death Mme Galle, his widow, continued to run the glassworks and to make Galle glass until the outbreak of war in 1914, marking all the glass sold by the works after his death with a star after the name Galle.

Emile Galle’s son in law, Paul Perdrizet, re-opened the Galle glassworks after the war. With new workers and new designs, they focussed on two and three layer cameo glass with landscape and floral designs, made by acid-etching. These were popular for some years, but the company did not keep pace with the changes in style in the late twenties, and closed in 1936.