Designer Desire: Bjørn Wiinblad

Mosaic of Bjørn Wiinblad designs | H is for Home

We’ve mentioned Bjørn Wiinblad a number of times on our blog in the past but for some reason have never dedicated an entire, detailed post to the man with pictorial examples showing the range of his work. Wiinblad (1918-2006) was primarily a ceramicist; his plates, vases, candle-holders figures et al are decorated with wistful and magical figures. We have a colourful charger from his ‘1001 Nights’ series for Rosenthal which firmly fits this description. He also designed and produced many pieces using other materials such as glass, metal and textiles.

According to the man himself:

It can never be the quantity of a thing that is wrong – it can only be the quality. I put just as much thought, just as many deliberations, and just as great zeal into doing the right thing in my work when I make wrapping paper as I do when I create a decoration for the Royal Ballet.

Some of his designs are still being produced today and can be found on websites such as Connox and Trouva. If his vintage work is more your thing, check out eBay and Etsy.

Portrait of Bjørn Wiinbladcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs

Designer Desire: Bent Gabrielsen

Mosaic of Bent Gabrielsen jewellery | H is for Home

Every week that goes by, I discover yet another brilliant Scandinavian jeweller. Today, it’s multi-award-winning Bent Gabrielsen (1928-2014).

In 1949 in Copenhagen, Gabrielsen completed his gold-smithing apprenticeship. He followed this with a 3-year course at the College of Jewelry, Silversmithing, and Professional Trade Design in the city. He went on immediately to work for Hans Hansen from 1953 as a jewellery designer where he remained until 1969, by which time he’d become responsible for the company’s entire output. After leaving the company, he set up in partnership with his wife under the name, ‘Gabrielsen’s Guldsmedie’.

When he won the Lunning Prize in 1964, Erik Bohr, the Chairman of the Committee commented:

Bent Gabrielsen’s jewelry carries absolute conviction as to its function; his handling of materials is so restrained and well considered that one feels this could hardly be otherwise. His jewelry is simple and clearly constructed, often with links connecting naturally with each other so that the complete piece makes up a beautiful whole. Every single detail of his things is worked out. There are no false effects. He does not take the easy way out.

Here’s a film giving an in-depth look at the maker’s life, work and ethos.

Find available examples of his work on eBay and Etsy.

Portrait of Bent Gabrielsencredit

Additional image credits:

1stDibs | Artnet

J is for… Jens

'J is for...' blog post banner

Composite image of Flickr images of Jens Quistaard designs | H is for Home

1. collection of pepper grinders, 2. vintage Scandinavian enamelware, 3. Dansk pot, 4. paella pan, 5. Dansk grinders & shakers, 6. mostly vintage Finel , 7. my collection of vintage enamel pots from Scandinavia, 8. Dansk – Kobenstyle – Quistgaard, 9. Quistgaard pepper mill, 10. Kobenstyle Pot, 11. untitled, 12. Vintage pots, 13. Jens Quistgaard bead candleholders, 14. salt & pepper grinders 15. grandmother’s dansk, 16. vintage Dansk Ltd IHQ QUISTGAARD Danish Modern mid century modernism candle tiny taper holder, 17. Danish pitcher, 18. pepper grinder, 19. red Dansk Kobenstyle stock pot, 20. Kobenstyle score

Danish-born Jens Quistgaard was one of Scandinavia’s leading designers with a vast product range that included furniture, kitchen equipment, tableware and more. He is most closely associated with Dansk International Designs, a company which he co-founded with American entrepreneur Ted Nierenberg.

Their partnership lasted for 30 years, Quistgaard being responsible for the majority of designs produced.

He worked in a variety of materials including iron, steel, ceramic and wood. It is wood, and in particular teak, which most often springs to mind when Jens Quistgaard is mentioned. Classic pieces such as his teak ice bucket, designed in 1960.

Vintage Jens Quistgaard teak ice bucket

Also, the Fjord cutlery range designed in 1953, this time teak combined with stainless steel.

Jens Quistgaard 'Fjord' cutlery set

There are plenty of pieces in other materials that are worth looking out for.

We love these vibrantly coloured, cast iron enamel cooking pots from the Kobenstyle range of 1954.

Orange Jens Quistgaard enamel 'Kobenstyle' casserole dish

His cast iron candle holders from 1955 combine sculptural shapes with a distinctive industrial quality.

Jens Quistgaard cast iron taper holder Jens Quistgaard cast iron taper holder

Sadly, he passed away this January at the age of 88. However, he left a wonderful legacy which lives on in his designs.

We often have Quistgaard pieces available in the H is for Home web shop.

pair of green glass Dansk tea light holders pair of green glass Dansk tea light holders

For more information about Jens Quistgaard and Dansk Designs, try some of the following books & websites:

Scandinavian Design by Charlotte & Peter Fiell (Amazon USA)

Scandinavian Design by Charlotte & Peter Fiell (Amazon UK)

Architonic – Feature of a selection of Jens Quistgaard products

DesignAddict – Feature of a selection of Jens Quistgaard products

New York Times – Jens Quistgaard obituary