Jens Quistgaard (1919-2008) designed and created for Dansk homeware that is a harmonious celebration of both form and function.
Jens Quistgaard was quite a character. From an early age his artistic talents were recognised and encouraged by his family. As a young man Jens produced jewellery, hunting knives, bags and ceramics; he would be found either learning carpentry at the joiners, or metalwork down at the local blacksmiths. These experiences would inform his work in later life. He was trained as a sculptor by his father, then went on to learn technical drawing and silversmithing at the Technical College in Copenhagen.
Jens's breakthrough came in 1953-54, when he created the Fjord cutlery set. It was handcrafted from stainless steel with teak handles, and was displayed at the Danish Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen. It was here that the American couple Martha and Ted Nierenberg, on a talent scouting trip to Europe, spotted Jens's work and tracked him down. Jens believed in handcrafting his designs, but Martha and Ted convinced him that they could mass manufacture his designs to a high standard. They set up Dansk Designs in America. Dansk became hugely successful in the USA, defining an era of style and of Danish design to a global consumer.
The two items of Dansk homeware above are perfect examples of the elegance and simplicity of Jens's designs. The Congo Ice Bucket 811, and the Large Bowl, come from the Rare Woods range. They are constructed from staved Siamese teak and, whilst being manufactured, still feel very much the product of Jens's craft based philosophy.
Now Dansk Designs have become collectors' pieces, and are eagerly sought after by Mid Century Obsessives.