Alfredo Häberli - featured in this video is one of the current designers working for Georg Jensen, and continuing their tradition of beautifully designed contemporary pieces.
Alfredo sugar/salt dispenser
Knowing my love of Georg Jensen, the family in Norway bought me this dispenser for Christmas. Its playful and quirky design made in mirrored stainless steel is typical of Alfredo. Not only is it pleasing to look at, but ergonomically it feels good in the hands. On the table, the dispenser with its round base, tumbles from side to side in a delightful way without falling, stopping when it finds its centre of gravity.
Georg Jensen - 1866-1935
Typical design by Georg Jensen with clusters of grapes - he loved to use naturalistic forms on his silver, and in particular flowers.
Jensen was the son of a knife grinder in the town of Raadvad just to the north of Copenhagen. He began his training in goldsmithing at the age of 14 in Copenhagen. His apprenticeship with the firm Guldsmed Andersen ended in 1884 and this freed young Georg to follow his artistic interests.
From childhood, Jensen had longed to be a sculptor and he now pursued this course of study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He graduated in 1892 and began exhibiting his work. Although his clay sculpture was well received, making a living as a fine artist proved difficult and he turned his hand to the applied arts.
He founded a small pottery workshop in partnership with Christian Petersen. Again the work was well received, but sales were not strong enough to support Jensen, by this point he was a widower with two small sons.
In 1901, he abandoned ceramics and began again as a silversmith and designer with Mogens Ballin. This led Jensen to make a landmark decision when, in 1904, he risked what small capital he had to opened his own silver smithy in Copenhagen.
Johan Rohde - 1856-1935
Johan Rohde's silver combined form with stylistic design - he was able to move the Art Nouveau style of Georg Jensen's designs towards Art Deco, and more contemporary pieces.
Johan Rohde was a painter, graphic artist, designer and critic. He came from a wealthy family and initially studied painting and drawing. By late 1880 Rohde was already an important artist whose work had been exhibited in Denmark and Germany. He was active in the movement in Denmark which sought to challenge traditional ways of teaching at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He was a leader in the creation of the Free Exhibition, an exhibition mounted to show the work of artists whose work was not accepted at the more establishment Charlottenborg Exhibition.
He embraced the movement of that time to apply an artistic sensibility to objects of everyday life and he designed the funiture, silverware and hollowware for his own home.
He first met Georg Jensen when he commissioned Jensen to execute one of his hollowware designs. This collaboration was so successful that the men decided they would continue to work together with Rohde designing and Jensen executing pieces. In fact for the early years of the Georg Jensen silver smithy, there were two designers for the most part, Jensen and Rohde. Their styles were quite different. Jensen designed after the Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau style with considerable ornamentation. Rohde's style was more controlled and he downplayed ornamentation in favor of form and line. He designed many hollowware pieces and flatware patterns, the most famous being Acorn.
The success of this collaboration with Rohde encouraged Jensen to bring in other designers who brought fresh ideas and new energy to the company.