Launched in 2008 to coincide with master designer Henning Koppel’s 90th birthday, Masterpieces revisits Georg Jensen’s original silver hollowware.
Of all the designers to work with Georg Jensen through the years, Henning Koppel was among the most highly regarded. His designs played an important role in influencing the signature look of Georg Jensen, particularly in the second half of the 20th century. The designer had trained as a sculptor before turning his attention to jewelry, hollowware and cutlery.
The pitcher is one of his most famous pieces and was first formed in 1952. It is spare but sensuous, with an elegantly extended handle and exaggerated lip. Georg Jensen began as a silversmith; this collection is a modern interpretation of the Legacy of excellent craftsmanship that dates from the very beginning.
Henning Koppel is responsible for what we have come to think of as "Danish design."
Koppel was an earlier pioneer of functionalism in design: his mission was to make everyday life products beautiful as well as practical. He was trained as a sculptor and began collaborating with Georg Jensen in 1946.
Henning Koppel is born to a wealthy Jewish family and showed an early talent for art, leading him to train in both drawing and aquarelle early on. He continued studies in sculpture at the Royal Danish Academy and later in Paris. His superb drafting skills, developed as a child, helped him in to produce outstanding product renderings of his designs. Even on their own, they form an exceptional body of work.
Like many Danish Jews, Koppel fled to Sweden during the Second World War. At 27, he returned and began working at Georg Jensen, which marked his start in jewellery, hollowware and flatware design. His first works – a series of necklaces and linked bracelets resembling whale vertebrae and microscopic organisms - were small masterpieces in imaginative modelling. Henning Koppel was in every way groundbreaking and his jewellery was unlike anything ever created at the silver smithy in its first 40 years.
When Henning Koppel died in 1981, aged 63, he had created an astonishing range of work: from stainless steel cutlery such as "New York" which found its way into the homes of millions, to magnificent one-off signature pieces such as the silver and crystal chandelier he designed to celebrate the 75-year anniversary of Georg Jensen in 1979.
During his life, he won many awards including the Milan Triennial, the International Design Award and the Lunning Prize. Accolades are important, but what means even more to us is that people still choose to wear a watch by Henning Koppel or to serve coffee from one of his pots. The integrity and appeal of his designs remain vital and undiminished.
With a history that spans more than 100 years, the Georg Jensen brand represents quality craftsmanship and timeless aesthetic design, producing lifestyle products ranging from hollowware to watches, jewellery and home products.
The philosophy of Georg Jensen himself was to create democratic designs possessing both functionality and beauty. His artisanal skill and artistic talent combined with his continuous ability to identify and support design talent was the foundation on which he built Georg Jensen in Copenhagen in 1904.
Georg Jensen’s style embraced the Art Nouveau lines of the day but injected them with a distinctive vigour that continues to resonate today. Serene flowing forms are enriched by exquisitely sculpted ornamentation and his stylised bouquets of flowers and lush bunches of grapes reflect his sensual delight in nature. Our most important task is to leverage the ideas and principles of the master himself and translate these into the design of the present day.
The Georg Jensen brand is based on a number of shared values such as integrity, authenticity and Danish design. All resonating the Scandinavian values - the simplicity of life, the Nordic light, clean water and fresh air – and all capsulised in the Georg Jensen Vision, Mission and Values. Respecting our DNA and our values it is both our obligation and our opportunity to run a profitable business providing products relevant to the consumer of today.