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

Designer Desire: Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist

Mosaic of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist furniture designs | H is for Home

We’re back in Scandinavia for this week’s Designer Desire subject matter. Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist (1925-1997) was a Swedish furniture designer and architect.

Arguably, many of her furniture designs have a distinct, feminine feel with their organic, curvaceous silhouettes. For example, her Paradiset range that she produced in the 1950s for department store, Nordiska Kompaniet (NK). The line consisted of Little Eva, Big Eve, Small Adam, Great Adam, Uncle Adam, The Sofa, The Purple Paradise, the Lustgården chaise longue and Fikonlövet footstool.

In the 1960s, she designed the Charlotte dining set for Finnish design firm, Asko and the Skrindan range for OPE Möbler.

A small selection of her work is sold new on the Clippings website and via specialist vintage design sites such as Bukowski’s and 1st Dibs.

Portrait of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquistcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis

Designer Desire: Vuokko Nurmesniemi

Mosaic of Vuokko Nurmesniemi designs | H is for Home

This is a Designer Desire post for all you vintage fashion fans! Vuokko Nurmesniemi (born 1930) was one of the two main pattern designers at Marimekko during the 1950s. Her striped Jokapoika (top image) was one of the company’s best sellers.

I just love her big, bold op art designs, many of which are in the New York Met’s permanent collection. Those tent coats and dresses are to die for!

I couldn’t find much of it available online. However, a few sellers on Etsy stock vintage Nurmesniemi-designed Marimekko and her own brand Vuokko Oy pieces.

Portrait of Vuokko Nurmesniemicredit

Additional image credits:

Marimekko | Pinterest

Designer Desire: Ristomatti Ratia

Mosaic of Ristomatti Ratia designs | H is for Home

Last week, we blogged about a couple of vintage Palaset storage boxes we put into our shop. Today, we’re featuring their designer, Ristomatti Ratia.

By all accounts, he has so far led a very colourful life. He’s been married numerous times, had a challenging relationship with his mother and had even appeared on the Finnish version of Dancing with the Stars.

He has, however, found the time to design all manner of products in his 50-year career. From clothing, spectacles, jewellery, glassware, cutlery and bedding to a free-standing fire and even a boat-shaped coffin and urn for ashes!

He’s best known for a couple of his early designs; firstly, his 301 shoulder bag (shown above in green) for his parents’ company, Marimekko. The other is the aforementioned, award-winning Palaset modular storage system – the LP units are especially sought after by vintage vinyl junkies. I discovered today that the ever forward-thinking Sir Terence Conran stocked Palaset in his Habitat shops in the 1970s. The image of the beanbag-seated lady is taken from a vintage Habitat catalogue.

His contemporary designs are readily available from the Finnish Design Shop and the Ratia Shop. His vintage designs pop up from time to time on 1st Dibs, eBay and Etsy.

Ristomatti Ratia has, as one might expect, a beautifully furnished home. You can take a house tour here.

Portrait of Ristomatti Ratia

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Additional image credits:

70 Luvulta | Flickr | Mundadaa | Why not 2nd Cycle

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Designer Desire: Björn Weckström

Mosaic of Björn Weckström designs | H is for Home

I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.

Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.

He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.

A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.

Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:

A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.

Björn Weckströmcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet

Designer Desire: Arne Jacobsen

Mosaic of Arne Jacobsen designs | H is for Home

Arne Jacobsen was one of the designers that featured in our 100 Chairs book review this week. He’s best known for his iconic chairs – the Swan, the Egg, the Ant, the Giraffe, the Tongue – but during his 40-year career, he also designed lighting, stainless steel tableware, cutlery, textiles and buildings.

Probably his most famous building is the SAS Royal Hotel (now known as the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel) which opened in 1960 in his home city of Copenhagen. He designed the building and almost all its fixtures & fittings, from the furniture down to the ashtrays.

Many of his works are still in production; you can purchase genuine vintage or brand new pieces from eBay, Heal’s, Trouva and the Conran Shop.

Arne Jacobsen portraitcredit

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Etsy