Georg Jensen is known for its sophisticated objects in steel and silver. The Danish company creates new designs while fostering traditional silversmithing skills. The latest addition to its range is the Helix collection by Bernadotte & Kylberg.
GEORG JENSEN’S HEADQUARTERS are located in an old, yellowish brick building in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. Inside, there is a traditional silversmith workshop, which resounds to the noise of steady hammering. The highly skilled craftsmen are absorbed in creating silver dishware and jewelry requiring hundreds of hours of work.
Sculpture-like objects are being created at the tables. These objects were designed by the company’s founder, Georg Jensen (1866–1935), by pioneers of modern design from the 1950s, and by today's top designers.
Craftsmanship — a key element of the identity of this company, which was founded in 1904 — is still cherished. Handcrafted objects now account for only a fraction of sales by the modern design house. The one-man handicrafts workshop has grown into an international lifestyle brand in just over a century.
At the same time, the product range has expanded from silver luxury items to steel, glass and ceramics. The backbone of the collection is now made up of high-quality tableware and interior design products manufactured at the company's Asian plant. The latest addition to the Georg Jensen range is the elegant Helix collection by Swedish designer duo Bernadotte & Kylberg.
The name of the duo hints at their ties to the Swedish court. One of the founders is Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, who studied graphic design at The Forsbergs Design School in Stockholm and the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States.
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Oscar Kylberg founded the Bernadotte & Kylberg design studio in 2012.
“We knew we wanted a modern collection for enjoying coffee and tea but we did not specify the pieces. So it could have been a coffee press or other things but we wanted them to have the freedom to define the expression of the collection before we became specific,” says Nicholas Manville, Chief Creative Officer at Georg Jensen.
Bernadotte and Kylberg built their idea on the four basic virtues of Nordic design: practicality, simplicity, sophistication and durability.
“Our priority is always to make a great product that does exactly what it was designed to do. Then we added the identity and attributes of Georg Jensen from our perspective,” says the designer duo.
Bernadotte & Kylberg were given free hands to create the Helix collection. The result is a practical but sophisticated range of five objects.
The result is a practical but sophisticated collection that expresses the long traditions of Scandinavian design. It also features exquisite details such as the helix curves on the lids of the jugs and bonbonniere, as well as handles with the flowing lines typical of the Georg Jensen collection.
“Working with such a hard material, we wanted to accentuate the natural beauty of light and reflection that steel enables. But foremost, with the helix shape, we wanted to create a sense of movement in the steel," comment the designers.
It may sound surprising that a Prince would design steel dishware, but Carl Philip is by no means the first Swedish Royal to cooperate with Georg Jensen in its long history of over a hundred years.
Among the designers of previous decades is another Prince of Sweden, the esteemed industrial design pioneer Sigvard Bernadotte, who designed everyday items as well as sophisticated silverware during his long career. Designed for Georg Jensen in the late 1930s, his Bernadotte collection has become a classic that is still in production and is one of the company's most popular series.
Georg Jensen's identity is based on the traditions of silversmithing and Nordic design, while giving these elements a new twist, as Bernadotte & Kylberg have done in their work.
“Helix immediately had a timeless feel,” says Georg Jensen's artistic director. The hallmarks of a classic are perhaps nowhere more identifiable than in this firm, which has more than a century of design history behind it.
Text: Anna-Kaisa Huusko Photos: Georg Jensen