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Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. => Scandinavian Glass => Topic started by: Frank on July 23, 2007, 06:29:31 PM

Title: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on July 23, 2007, 06:29:31 PM
There is no doubt that alongside France and Czechoslovakia, that Scandinavia has had the most profound effect on glass design. Arguably that influence is responsible for the last surviving major Scottish Glassworks (Caithness). I am aware that Scandinavian design was important at the 1925 exhibition in Paris but what was it that lead to this within the different countries of the Scandinavian region? What part did the individual countries take in that revolution?
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Pinkspoons on July 24, 2007, 05:10:45 PM
Just a brief posting, as I'm up to my eyeballs in three other projects...

In Mogens Schluter's brief history of Kastrup-Holmegaard he only briefly mentions the 1925 exhibition, and it seems that the only entry by Holmegaard was an incredibly beautiful stemware range called 'Tranquebar', designed by Orla Juul Neilsen. He doesn't go into what caused Danish glass, after 100 years, to suddenly move into modern art glass, unfortunately.

Tranquebar, 1925 (http://www.zeitgeist-i.com/GMB/tranquebar.jpg)

Looking at the glass production of other Scandinavian companies around this time, and later, it appears that Denmark was a bit of a slow-burner until at least the mid-late 1930s, even though JE Bang's designs had been gathering awards since the late 1920s (most notably at the 1929 Barcelona World Fair).
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on July 25, 2007, 01:21:55 AM
I have pictures of 6 pieces of Orrefors from the exhibition, 5 attributed to Simon Gate and E Hald are certainly transitional to modern style The 6th is a stunning covered bowl and platter attributed to Gate that I would call traditional but perhaps elements are modern. The account of the exhibition gives credit to Johan Elkman of Gothenberg who hired Hald & Gate for stimulating Orrefors from 1917. It said of the Swedish Industrial Art "their main idea seems to have been to produce really beautiful things for every-day use in the humble home at low price." It talks of 'beautiful' Graal in comparison to Galle and that only a few pieces were exhibited but no price was given. Although the point of that report is to criticise the British government and glassmakers.

No mention of Denmark.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on November 06, 2007, 02:36:52 PM
A 1946 UK Board of Trade report I have just added to the Glass-Study has this to say on this subject:

Quote
... While the world-wide reputation which Swedish glass has acquired for good design is admitted, the report of our Swedish mission points out that this has been achieved through the work of a few outstanding designers only (eight were mentioned by the Swedish Arts and Crafts Society), and applies to quite a small proportion of the total output, 90 per cent. of which is said to be of “bread and butter” lines of simple, more-or-less functional design. The outstanding factory for design employs three of the eight designers named, but not full time, since it is considered important for them to have other interests, ...

So who were the 8?
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Ivo on November 06, 2007, 03:42:42 PM
i think it would be confusing to look at glass design in national terms only. If you are looking for the sources of Scandinavian design in the early 20th century then you cannot see glass seperate from ceramics, wood and silver. And if you are looking at good glass design for the happy many or the happy few you cannot ignore Arts&crafts, Artel Prague, Wiener Werkstätte, Bauhaus or Berlage - to name but a few. It would seperate one specific influence out of what was in essence an international movement.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on November 06, 2007, 04:40:17 PM
Totally agree, my criteria for inclusion in Scotland's Glass is 'trained or worked in glass in Scotland' - only one non-Scottish based worker so far...

The question was also raised because it is often said the Scandinavian design was an influence in the work of Colin Terris at Caithness. Although I have never seen any more than that said about it.

... however, there is also a national element involved and this is often less clear to an outsider. I also read somwhere else that Swedish glass design was dull until after WW1... so had hoped to attract some more information. If the question gets to broad then it gets harder to answer and to understand.

Perhaps we can build a list of Scandi designers, to add to the English ones and then... (other countries.)
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Bill G on November 06, 2007, 08:25:24 PM
In thinking about the question, the following is offered as one reason for the development of the Scandinavian Design concept: the hiring of architects - ie. Kosta in the early 20th Century and Orrefors bringing into the glass works two then three, then four artists who had never worked with glass. Gate, Hald, Lindstrand and Öhrström. They brought a new attitude to the definition of design in glass and in two cases ceramics (Hald and Lindstrand)

The Finnish glass works also brought designers into the glass works. Their post war marketing of Finnish glass along with the exhibitions presented in the United States by the Smithsonian created an awareness around the country of this new design.

Bill Geary
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on December 06, 2007, 04:51:06 PM
Interesting snippet I came across re Holmegaard in an 1987 Glass Cone article:

Orla Juul Nielsen - c.1925 to 1929 initiates the tradition of simplicity of form. As continued by first Bang, then Lutken.

I presume making the switch from very conservative forms... Amazed that the name is not mention much outside of Denmark on the web!
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Pinkspoons on December 06, 2007, 07:00:14 PM
Nielsen very much broke Holmegaard away from the broadly traditional designs that the factory had been plundering for nearly a century. Unfortunately his name seems to have been utterly superseded by JE Bang. Judging by some of the illustrations I have, Bang dipped quite liberally into Nielsen's designs for his own early inspirations.

It's a very sad affair, and seems mostly down to Holmegaard's PR from then (and now) heralding Bang as the revolutionary saviour of 1930s Danish glass.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on December 06, 2007, 07:11:44 PM
Oh well there is at least one independent Holmegaard site that could start to redress the balance   ;) - I presume pieces by Nielsen are hard to find oputside Denmark then - Caithness have done the same to O'Broin.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Pinkspoons on December 06, 2007, 07:28:19 PM
Sadly I don't have any of Nielsen's designs of my own to use for illustration, and most of the photographic material I have is still within copyright.

But I'll find a way of slipping in a bit of a biography for the designer to fit around the few copyright-free pieces I do have - I'm currently working on redesigning the site right now to be more flexible in its content.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Pinkspoons on December 06, 2007, 08:33:20 PM
In Mogens Schluter's brief history of Kastrup-Holmegaard he [...] doesn't go into what caused Danish glass, after 100 years, to suddenly move into modern art glass, unfortunately.

Just finished translating a chapter in another Mogens Schluter book on Holmegaard, and apparently they first moved into art glass because the Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory requested that the glassworks create drinkware that matched their dinnerware sets, so in 1923 Holmegaard and Royal Copenhagen signed a contract that ensured future collaboration.

Holmegaard hired an artist called Oluf Jensen to create the first designer-lead glass for the factory, the first of which was called 'Lace', a set of drinking engraved drinking glasses with a design that matched a Royal Copenhagen series of the same name.

Jensen only submitted a few designs before quitting, and was replaced by a young artist of the name Orla Juul Nielsen. Nielsen had recently won a design competition for a drinksware set, which is what brought him to the attention of the glassworks. Nielsen was a prolific designer for the few years he was at Holmegaard, representing them at the 1925 Paris World Exhibition with the 'Tranquebar' range.

Collaboration with Royal Copenhagen only lasted a few years, and Nielsen left in 1929.

The book then goes on to say how JE Bang saved Holmegaard with innovative new designs, etc... with no further mention of Nielsen, as far as I can see.
Title: Re: Root of Scandinavian influence on glass design.
Post by: Frank on October 17, 2008, 03:21:30 PM
That pretty well rounds this question off. Thanks all.