Born in Kuortane in 1898, Alvar Aalto made his name as a master of modern architecture through his unique style and exceptional talent. He worked closely with his wife Aino Aalto.
Aalto designed concert halls, libraries, hospitals, museums and private homes, among others, all around the world. His works were exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art already in the 1930s. Aalto also designed several objects which were originally intended to become parts of buildings and decorations. However, the objects took on a life of their own.
The most famous of the objects designed by Aalto is the Aalto vase, which was first seen at the 1937 Paris World Exposition. Independently and together with his wife Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto designed a number of versatile objects.
Erik Magnussen was born in 1940 in Copenhagen. Educated as a ceramist at the School of Applied Arts and Design - graduated with a silver medal in 1960.
For a number of years he worked for Bing & Grøndahl and among the latest works are furniture for Fritz Hansen a/s , door handles for Franz Schneider Brakel gmbh, tabletop in pewter for Royal Selangor, porcelain lamps for Licht & Form and furniture for Paustian a/s.
Erik Magnussen's designs are exhibited in museums throughout the world and he has received the Lunning Prize in 1967 and the Furniture Prize in 1977. In 1983 he was chosen "designer of the year" by the Danish Design Council and his products have several times received the ID-prize by the Danish Society of Industrial Design. Erik Magnussen received the Bindesbøll Medal in 1996 and he has received grants from the Ole Haslund Fund, the Royal Jueweller A. Michelsen's Anniversary Fund and Knud V. Engelhardt's Memorial Fund.
In 1997 Erik Magnussen was awarded "The Red Dot" in the "Design Innovations 1997" competition held by Design Zentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen and he won the "Good Design Gold Prize" awarded by Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization.
Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) was trained as a bricklayer and graduated from The Technical Society's school in 1924 and Copenhagen Art Academy 1927. In 1928 he received the Academy's gold medal, but prior to this, when only 23, he was awarded a silver medal at the 1925 Paris World Exhibition - the first of numerous honours that became a natural accompaniment to his artistic activities, his untiring search and his brilliant conceptions, made manifest by many successes in competitions at home and abroad.
His main works include: town halls in Århus, Søllerød, Rødovre and Glostrup, SAS-building (Royal Hotel) in Copenhagen, Munkegårds School in Gentofte, Toms Chocolate Factory in Ballerup, The Danish National Bank headquarters, a sports hall in Landskrona, St. Catherine's College, Oxford and Hamburgerische Elektrizitätswerke's administration building.
In 1932, Arne Jacobsen began collaboration with Fritz Hansens Eft. A/S, and over a period of years designed a series of chairs which are now recognised as milestones in the development of modern furniture. They include "The Ant" (1951), "The Egg" (1957), and "The Swann"(1957).
But he was also an innovator in other design fields, such as the tableware series "Cylinda-line" in stainless steel.
Arne Jacobsen was a professor at the Art Academy, and received honorary doctorates from a number of foreign universities and academies. Cylinda-line was awarded the ID-prize 1967 by The Danish Society of Industrial Design and The International Design Award 1968 by The American Institute of Interior Designers.
A Multi-thinker and Universalist
Life started rather conventionally for Piet Hein. His father and mother were an engineer and an ophthalmologist, respectively. Piet Hein's childhood and adolescence in Copenhagen ended with his obtaining a general certificate from the Metropolitan Grammar School, and subsequently he took the introductory course in philosophy at the University of Copenhagen in the autumn of 1924.
Afterwards the life of the now 19 year old Piet Hein became anything but regular. For a time he left the university in order to attend private art schools in the capital, and he spent some time as a student at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm as well. He came back to Denmark and apparently he changed his course again studying philosophy and theoretical physics at the University of Copenhagen, at the Technological University and at Niels Bohr Institute.
Perhaps this accounts for Piet Hein's fundamental distinction. For him there was no unbridgeable gap between the subjectivity of the fine arts and the objective world of science.
Throughout life he grew and expressed himself both as an artist and a scientist. He has been called a universalist. In that way a spiritual affinity existed between him and the Renaissance ideal - a modern variant of Leonardo da Vinci. However, contrary to the historical ideals, in Piet Hein's works is found an easily recognizable element whether it is a matter of scientific publications, essays, poetry or architecture. The special Piet Hein touch is the superiority of the form in relation to the objectives, the medium and - for that matter - the contents.
Piet Hein's world is almost the epitome of design. His recognisable style of language and material turns design into art. He belonged to the generation which also included some of the cultural leftists of the interwar years and later on those of the flower power generation, but he chose to go neither with nor against the current. Piet Hein chose his own course. The headlines of this course were only few, and they accompanied him in a poetic and architectural production for almost sixty years. Were his production to be collected under one single subject heading, the word harmony would probably be the most adequate. In 1944 Piet Hein explained his working method in this way :"Art is solution to problems which cannot be formulated clearly before they have been solved". Other people have very aptly called his working method architectural poetic design.
Harmonic forming in words: Grooks
Now and then in the 1930s the Danes might read some short poems by Piet Hein in the daily newspaper Politiken. They were printed under the headline "From day to day" and both the newspaper and the author saw them as poetic comments on small and great occurrences in everyday life. From 1940 the form grew more firm. Piet Hein's special grooks were created, the poet's alias being Kumbel Kumbell. Many people have tried to define what a grook actually is. It may be said that most grooks say what anybody may think out themselves, but they put pertinent new perspectives on everyday observations which present the reader with small instructions in the finest of all the arts: the art of living. Thus everybody recognizes themselves in Kumbel's universe.
From 1940 to 1963 twenty volumes of original collections of grooks were published. One of the first grooks - "Taking fun as simply fun" - remained one of the most famous. Piet Hein called it pedagogical grook and mentioned it afterwards in other connections as a kind of key to all the other grooks.
The poet Kumbel Kumbell had his poems translated into all kinds of different languages, more than one and a half million copies have been printed. The small grooks belong to everybody, exactly as was Piet Hein's original intention.
They are meant to be used and the author did not hold back from taking part in initiatives which might result in further distribution. Small porcelain butter platters with a grook painted on them became famous. He was also responsible for translations of entire collections of grooks into English as well as Esperanto.
Harmonic forming in mathematics: The Superellipse
Parallel to his poetic work, Piet Hein decided to find an absolutely harmonic physical design. With mathematical intuition he first found the form and then explained it afterwards. His superellipse was to solve the double contrast between the circle and the square and that of the ellipse and the rectangle. By means of mathematics he found a harmonic geometrical figure which was first used on a large scale in connection with the solution to a town planning problem in Stockholm. In a rectangular square, 200 metres long, in Stockholm's centre two motorways were to meet in a gigantic roundabout. The solution was the application of the superellipse to both square and roundabout at the new Sergels Torg. Later on the superellipse has been used in Canada, France, Japan, the US and Mexico in connection with the solution of as different constructions as residential areas and sports centres for example the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City.
Within furniture design the superellipse also became the solution to various problems - especially in relation to Piet Hein's design of tabletops the superellipse became popular.
In a three-dimensional version the superellipse became the superegg which has been used for metal versions of various board games, superegg drink coolers and the anti-stress ball.
Especially the latter reached an enormous distribution in the 1970s. In addition to his work with the development of the superellipse Piet Hein has executed a great many other design commissions, from board games in wood to the elegant Sinus lamp.
The belief in the intellectual man
In 1940 Piet Hein became the president of the association Frisindet Kulturkamp (Liberal Cultural Action). This was the first visible step in his effort towards globalism and harmony.
This effort is probably best illustrated by his presidency in 1948-1949 of the Danish branch of World Movement for World Federal Government. Here people were seriously working for the solution of the worlds’ overall problems and conflicts through idealistic scientific work on a world-wide basis which was to be achieved by bringing together intellectuals from all over the world.
Later on for Piet Hein it became a question of propagating the international artificial language Esperanto and memberships of the committees of Open Door International, Humanistisk Forbund (Humanistic Union), Ligaen for Tolerance (The League for Tolerance) and for example International Pen.
Furthermore, it was characteristic of Piet Hein that he deliberately sought the personal acquaintance of the intellectual elite of his time at international level. From his youth at the Technological University in Copenhagen he knew the physicist Niels Bohr. Through him Piet Hein also sought the acquaintance of Albert Einstein and Charles Chaplin after the Second World War. A close friendship developed between these people and in several essays Piet Hein has described how he was inspired by this.
National and international recognition
Piet Hein is among the Danes which have received the most awards in the twentieth century. In Denmark he has received the Aarestrup-medal ( 1969), the Industrial Design-prize (1971), the Storm Petersen-prize (1978), the Medal Ingenio et Arti (1985), the annual prize of Danish Design Council (1989) and the Tietgen Medal (1990) as well as honorary memberships of the Students' Association (1970), the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society (1978), Det Danske Broderskab (the Danish Guild) (1978).
Of international distinctions can be mentioned Alexander Graham Bell Silver Bell (1968), Die gute Industrieform (1971), Doctor of Human Letters at Yale University (1972), Huitième Salon Internationale du Lumiaire (1973) and Nobel Lecturer (1983).
Piet Hein is the internationally best known Dane in our century next to the physicist Niels Bohr and the author Karen Blixen.
Professor Oiva Toikka is one of the greatest names in Finnish glass. His imaginative, rich and bold glass art deviates from the streamlined aesthetic of Nordic design. He has worked in the performing arts for as long as he has in glass. The Birds collection is Toikka’s best-known work. He has enjoyed an international career and received numerous awards, among them Lunning Prize, Pro Finlandia Medal, World Glass Now 85 Award, Kaj Franck Design Prize and the Prince Eugen Medal.
Per Lütken (1916-1998) was the unsurpassed master of Danish glass design and one of Holmegaard’s most advanced glass blowers. He worked at the Holmegaard Glass Factory from 1942 until his death in 1998 and has breathed life into more than 3,000 glass designs. Many of his ranges have become classics and are synonymous with the quality that Holmegaard is famous for.
Per Lütken was the Holmegaard Glass Factory’s great inspiring figure. He was known for his perfectionism and made great demands on the glass blowers. If they complained that his designs were too difficult to blow in glass, Lütken’s ambitious response was always, “Well, who said things were supposed to be easy?”
In Per Lütken’s opinion, glasses should have a certain natural weight, and they should ooze craftsmanship. Based on this philosophy, he created the thick, lip-friendly glasses with soft curves in the No. 5 (1970), Ship’s Glass (1971), Idéelle (1978) and Charlotte Amalie (1981) ranges.
Lütken is also the man responsible for the Provence bowl (1955) and the Selandia dish (1957).
Born in the city of Stavanger in Norway, he is now living and working in the city of Stockholm in Sweden. He was educated in the Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm. Mr. Skarbøvik now produces pictures, designs, exhibits and decorations.
Mr Skarbøvik has been awarded several domestic as well as International awards for his work. He has also been awarded stipends from the Swedish Art Society. He has contributed to the American Illustration, 3x3 Annual, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, Title Magazine, Association of Illustrators Annual, Images UK, Applied Arts, Illustration show, HOW Magazine, International Design Awards, Folio Award New York, Svenska Kolla and Norska Visuelt. He also have exhibited in several Swedish exhibits as well as international exhibits plus exhibited in 20 collection exhibits.
Mr Skarbøvik is also known for large wall murals in entry halls, in offices, in rental apartments, and on board some cruise liners. He has recently exhibited in Japan, England, Norway and in Sweden.
Anu Penttinen knows her glass, as it is her medium of choice as an artist and she has a studio at the Nuutajärvi Glass Village. She is a graduate of the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and her art reflects her interest in the phenomena and details of the urban environment. Maps, city streets, and transport – moving from place to place and location to location – have always fascinated her: “I filter out my visual world from concrete places and human activity, which can end up as abstracts for my glass pieces.” Her preference is for strong colors and clarity of form.
Hanne Dalsgaard (born 1960) and Christina Halskov (born 1961) are both educated at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Industrial Design, graduating in the late 1980s. Halskov & Dalsgaard Design was established in 1990, and is situated in the center of Copenhagen. Their fields of activity include both comprehensive as well as minor tasks within industrial / product design, covering the process from concept and idea development to the final product.
In my work, I aspire to take absolute artistic freedom so that I can explore ideas with no limitations.Though unintentionally, this often results in creating concepts that match the demands of the design industry.
My designs are mainly objects that can be found in our day-to-day life. The objects that I create are simple, poetic, have a focus on color, material, and tell a story while still keeping their functionality.
Klaus Haapaniemi (born 1970) is an internationally recognized designer. His CV of design work is impressive: garment prints for Diesel, Levis, Marimekko, Dolce & Gabbana, Cacharel and Bela’s Dead, a new brand. He has also worked as Creative Director of the Italian fashion house Bantam, published a book entitled ‘Giants’ together with the Finnish writer Rosa Liksom, produced illustrations for the Observer newspaper, shown his work in exhibitions – and done a few other things in between.
The international WGSN trend analysis service has dubbed him as one of the most important rising stars in illustration and design. The international media often refer to Klaus Haapaniemi’s Finnish roots, and even the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, has been mentioned. It is true that his illustrations have references to folklore.
In 2015 Klaus Haapaniemi has made his opera set design début by creating the visual world for the performances of the opera Cunning Little Vixen performed in Finnish National Opera January 2015.
The German designers Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub (born 1965 in Stuttgart and 1964 in Ulm respectively) already sat next to each other when they took their entry exam for the university of art. After several projects in New York, they began their partnership in Italy with re-known companies in Cassina, Nemo, Ycami and Acerbis. In Germany, they worked on office furniture and living furniture for Renz, Schönbuch and Thonet as well as on the worldwide showroom- concept for Mercedes-Benz. Next to a lounge programme for Fritz Hansen, the candleholders represent the second project for a Scandinavian producer.
Maria Berntsen is an industrial designer who has had her own practice since 1992. She finds her design inspiration in architecture, nature, fashion and current trends. Maria Berntsen has a special love of glass as a material with its visual lightness and its ability to capture and reflect light.
”When I approach a new project, I start by looking for its nerve, its spirit. A beginning. It is like stepping into a special space where your heart can speak. A place where everything is possible, and I am able to look at everything with a new energy and without prejudice or preconception. I visualize how the product will be used and the presence it has in a room – and based on this feeling, I start to think in form and function”.
For the past 20 years, OHM has been developing new and innovative products that resonate with the public. By being exposed to a variety of industries and keeping current with trends and cultural developments, OHM is able to meld experience with a fresh approach to each new project.
Responsibility is a big topic in my work and my process of product design. At the beginning is always the question of need.
Material, craftsmanship and technology are important considerations when creating solutions which don’t respond to trends, but rely on usability and sustainability.