Kay Bojesen

Kay Bojesen (1886-1958) was one of Denmark’s greatest pioneers in Danish applied art. Even though Kay Bojesen is best known by many for his fantastic wooden toys (the monkey, elephant and bear), and for his wooden utensils, Kay Bojesen has also left his mark on e.g. the silversmith craft.


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Kay Bojesen actually trained as a silversmith and worked for both Georg Jensen and A. Michelsen. Kay Bojesen not only broke with tradition, but also laid great weight on that his models should be able to be produced using the new industrial production methods.


On this premise, Kay Bojesen simplified items and created a number of beautiful and practical utensils and tableware. The Grand Prix flatware series corresponds fully with his view on how modern cutlery should be. Designed in 1938 and produced in silver, the later stainless steel edition was awarded the Grand Prix at the Biennale exhibition in Milan in 1951, and came to be known as Grand Prix flatware.

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Kay Bojesen Kay Bojesen started his career, training in retail. In 1906 Kay Bojesen , however, changed direction and entered into an apprenticeship as silversmith with Georg Jensen, who was quick to discover his talent. Things went so well for Kay Bojesen that in 1913 he decided to start for himself. Kay Bojesen ’s world fame is due to his toys, which, at the time when Kay Bojesen began to develop toys, could not have been further removed from the realms of applied art. By 1922 Kay Bojesen had designed wooden toys for a competition. In 1932 he was one of the instigators of the exhibition, Den Permanente, where he showed his toys under the slogan ‘World Première’. This was a definite demonstration that toys could be designed in the spirit of applied art. Kay Bojesen ’s creative ideas came to be expressed in a large number of utensils and tableware, from yarn balls and bowls in various forms to the nutcrackers based on a portrait of Danish prime minister, Thorvald Stauning.

Kay Bojesen soon developed a taste for more functional design based on industrial production techniques. In the polemic between, on the one hand, those who defended machine work processes and, on the other, those defending craftsmanship, Kay Bojesen also came under fire. After having positioned himself unequivocally on the side of craftsmanship, Kay Bojesen became one of the founders of the exhibition, Den Permanente. Even though Kay Bojesen was trained in the silversmith craft and never completely abandoned this expensive and exclusive material, his great breakthrough was through the more down-to-earth material, wood. E.g. his double, ball-formed teak salad bowls and salad servers from 1949 won the Grand Prix at the Triennale exhibition in Milan in 1954.


Moreover, Kay Bojesen developed a wide range of objects in wood, from plates and ice buckets to more traditional items such as salad bowls.

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