To know a brand is not merely reading about it or owning a piece. To truly know a brand, getting to see the entire process from start to finish is an eyeopening experience. Last week I was invited to Copenhagen to participate in the Design Tour 2019 arranged by Georg Jensen and Garde Hvalsøe. It was a spectacular trip gathering creatives and design nerds (i.e. bloggers) from around Europe and all the way from New Zealand.
We were immediately immersed into the DNA of two companies based in the design capital of Scandinavia, with one day fully dedicated to each of them. Our first day put focus on Georg Jensen and hence, so will I as I will be posting in a chronological order, trying to recall most bits and pieces of all the knowledge that was passed on to me.
After having checked in at the hotel in central Copenhagen, we were quickly bussed to the headquarters of Georg Jensen where we were welcomed by CEO, Francesco Pesci before our tour commenced. First, we were guided through the archives and given a historical focal point stretching from 1904 and onwards. As a Scandinavian, it was of particular interest to take part of both Sigvard Bernadotte’s designs as well as the stunning jewelry of Vivanna Torun Bülow-Hübe. Whereas the former designed sleek thermo jugs and cutlery, the latter designed some iconic jewelry, including the Vivianna watch which was echoing her philosophy: “A watch should free us from the restraints of time, not enslave us”. A quirky detail is that the original didn’t hold any hands to count seconds.
Followed by the visit to the archives, we delved into the art of silversmiths and the actual handicraft behind producing items in detail Our guide talked us through both the creative process as well as the execution of it and it’s interesting to hear that a company with such great traditions not only keeps them alive but also uses new technology, such as 3D, to recreate old artifacts. Peeks of the inside of the smithy took me back in history and I envisioned how the creativity must have been filling the insides of these walls for over a century!
After a lunch consisting of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), it was time for a real treat. We got to meet the other half of the design duo Bernadotte & Kylberg, Oscar Kylberg. Bernadotte & Kylberg have got the honor to design a complete collection for Georg Jensen with a brief stating it should be coffee related (undoubtedly, it was longer than that). The result of the collaboration is Helix. The Helix collection marks Bernadotte & Kylberg’s first collaboration with Georg Jensen and it reveals their keen understanding of the brand’s ethos by championing purity and paring their designs back to only the most essential elements. There is also a delightful connection in prince Carl Philip Bernadotte upkeeping the tradition of designing coffee and teapots for Georg Jensen, just like his great uncle, Sigvard Bernadotte, back in the days. It is a stunning set with a tray of dreams.
Once wrapped up our intense, detailed and ever so interesting day at the Georg Jensen headquarters, we were driven to the home of Thomas Schlosser, famous store owner and TV-personality in Denmark, whose home is an homage to design history! His home is a treasure chest of Scandinavian and Nordic design and the four hundred square meters spanning over four floors were breathtaking. I can’t even begin to mention all the pieces in his home, but I was particularly fond of a huge Iittala Ultima Thule vase which I’ve never seen before.
The evening went on with a canal cruise in Copenhagen while sipping on some bubble tea and watching the quite avant-garde architecture blending in with older periods of architectural splendor. The canal boat took us across the waters to another part of town where we had dinner at Garde Hvalsøe’s showroom. That takes us to our second part of the design tour which will be a blog post following this one up.