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BØJEN K AY B OJ E S E N

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KAY BOJESEN A MAN OF MANY TALENTS 3


Kay Bojesen in front of his workshop in Bredgade 47, Copenhagen

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A young Kay (far left) in Georg Jensens workshop

Kay Bojesen was a Danish craftsman, known and loved for his functional, simple, and aesthetic designs. Kay was born into a creative family in 1886. Kay’s father, Ernst Bojesen, was a well-known Danish editor and the founder of Det Nordiske Forlag, a Danish publishing house, which later became known as Gyldendahl.

Copenhagen in 1913, Kay opened his first silversmith workshop. He kept on pushing his craftsmanship forward and experimented with new styles and materials. In the 1920s, Kay became a strong advocate of functionalism and argued that ornamentations and decorations belonged to a bygone era.

I 1907, Kay got an apprenticeship as a silversmith at Georg Jensen’s workshop. Here, Kay learned how to master silver craft, Art Nouveau, and curlicues. When Kay was fully trained in 1910, Georg Jensen wrote that Kay was ”… in possession of a talent which is not bad at all… it is my belief that a young man with his skills is able to take it far”. Kay Bojesen travelled Europe after his apprenticeship. When he returned to 5


Silver entrĂŠe dish on teakwood stand (46 x 4 cm)

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“THERE MUST BE LIFE, BLOOD, AND HEART IN THE THINGS YOU PRODUCE AND YOU MUST LIKE TO HOLD THEM IN YOUR HAND. TO BE HUMAN IS TO BE WARM AND ALIVE” Kay Bojesen

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“GOOD DESIGN IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO” Kay Bojesen

Kay Bojesen was constantly rethinking shapes, materials, and the use of objects, and he mastered multiple materials, among them silver, wood, glass, melamine, tin, steel, and porcelain. During his career, Kay managed to design and put more than 2000 objects into production. This is an impressive 2.6 new designs per week. Kay himself stated that his biggest concern was “… that I have a terrible difficult time keeping my initiative in check”. 8

Even though Kay Bojesen created most of his designs in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, his craftsmanship still brings joy to this day. Kay’s ability to think ahead of his time, to welcome new trends, and to stay true to his functionalistic and simple line of thought, has resulted in his craftsmanship becoming iconic symbols of Danish design.


Silver tea caddy (9 x 10 cm)

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KAY BOJESEN A FAMILY-OWNED COMPANY “I’VE ALWAYS HAD A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP TO MY GRANDFATHER’S CRAFTMANSHIP, AND THEREFORE IT SEEMED OBVIOUS TO CARRY FORWARD HIS DESIGN WHEN THE POSSIBILITY PRESENTED ITSELF.” Sus Bojesen Rosenqvist CEO

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Sus Bojesen Rosenqvist, CEO and Kay Bojesen’s grandchild Photo: Heidi Lerkenfeldt

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“I’M FASCINATED BY KAY’S ABILITY TO THINK PROSPECTIVELY AND IN NEW WAYS; HE WAS CONSTANTLY A STEP AHEAD OF HIS TIME!” Sus Bojesen Rosenqvist CEO

Kay Bojesen is a Danish design company founded in 2011 by Sus Bojesen Rosenqvist, granddaughter of Kay Bojesen.

Kay Bojesen believed that“Good design is something that everyone is entitled to”.

Sus has always worked with her grandfather’s design; when she was a young girl, Sus helped out in Kay’s store in Bredgade 47 in Copenhagen.

We wish to practice this belief by offering everyone the experience of Kay’s good design. This is why we regularly dive into the Kay Bojesen archives and find inspiration for interior and tableware that hasn’t been in production for many years.

Later on, Sus opened her own store with Kay Bojesen’s designs in Copenhagen and she even tried her hands as a silversmith. For many years, Sus helped her father, Otto Bojesen, with the quality control of Kay Bojesen’s wooden animals. In 2011, Sus decided to relaunch her grandfather’s Grand Prix cutlery and founded Kay Bojesen.

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We see it as a privilege and an honour to carry forward Kay Bojesen’s design heritage. Therefore, it is important for us to stay true to Kay’s design values and keep rethinking materials, shapes, and the use of objects just like Kay did.


Sus Bojesen Rosenqvist admiring her grandfather’s figures, 1966 13


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KAY-SERIES THE SERIES, WHICH PREVIOUSLY ONLY HAS BEEN PRODUCED IN SILVER, IS NOW INTRODUCED IN WHITE HANDMADE PORCELAIN AND IS OF COURSE NAMED AFTER THE MAN BEHIND IT ALL, KAY BOJESEN.

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KAY BOJESEN’S LINE IS EASY TO RECOGNISE IN THE NEW KAY-TABLE SERIES, AND THE ELASTIC BUT FRIENDLY SHAPE GIVES AN ELEGANT EXPRESSION.

Kay Bojesen’s mantra was that good design is something that everyone is entitled to. One of his focal points was to design articles that would make life easier for housewives. He did this by designing aesthetic crafts without compromising on functionality. Kay Bojesen was a trained silversmith and used the first many years of his career on forging silver. Kay Bojesen always had an eye out for new trend and tendencies, and he became a strong advocate for functionalism where he praised clean, smooth surfaces, form and function, and disapproved of curlicues and redundant decorations. In Kay Bojesen’s lifetime, silver was a traditional and integral part of every household. Tableware was handcrafted and often seen as costly investments. Silver was something that young couples saved up to and regarded as precious lifetime belongings. Much has changed since then. The industrialisation in the 1940s and 1950s made it possible to produce crafts in bigger quantities and many new materials emerged. Kay Bojesen was fond of the development of the industry because it made his design available to more people. He was among the first designers to introduce factory-produced 16

cutlery in stainless steel, and not handmade silver, which was custom at the time. Kay Bojesen passed away in 1958 and didn’t live to see all the possibilities that industrialisation and globalisation would bring to the design industry. But he was a visionary man and if he had lived to see this day, he would have wanted his design to progress and move with the times. Therefore, we wish to bring Kay Bojesen’s design heritage into the present by relaunching some of his silver designs in more contemporary materials. With hundreds of Kay Bojesen’s silver designs to choose from, it was difficult to decide what to pick out and relaunch. We have been trawling the archives numerous times and many different ideas have been considered. Finally, some pieces were picked out and the Kay-series in handcrafted porcelain was born. The series is named Kay after its original designer and mastermind Kay Bojesen. With the Kay-series, we wish to live by Kay Bojesen’s mantra by offering great design to everyone.


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KAY -SERIES WING 55cm

KAY -SERIES RIPPLE Ø 27,5 cm

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KAY -SERIES NEST Ø 23 cm

KAY -SERIES DROP Ø 16 cm 19


THE ROYAL GUARD Kay Bojesen (1886-1958) was a trained silversmith and he believed that good design is something that everyone is entitled to. Kay Bojesen was a very productive man and during his career he managed to put more than 2000 different designs into production. If you look at how long his active career was, this is an impressive 2.6 designs per week in average. The large amount of designs mean that unknown Kay Bojesen designs keep on emerging – designs that even Kay Bojesen’s family knows nothing of. One wondrous Kay Bojesen discovery was the Royal Guard in silver. When Kay Bojesen’s grandchildren had to empty their parent’s attic, years after Kay had passed away, it was hard for them to get an overview of what to throw out, store, and keep. Among all the stuff, they found a small, anonymouslooking and rattling box. In the box was a lot of loose components – small samples of cobber busbies, rifles, arms, legs, and torsos. Among the samples was a fully assembled silver Royal Guard. No one in the family had seen the silver Royal Guard before, and from the small components it was clear so see how Kay Bojesen had forged his way to the perfect weight and height. It was no surprise that Kay Bojesen had forged a Royal Guard in silver, because he had a very loving relationship to the city of Copenhagen where he grew up and worked for his whole life. From his basement shop in Copenhagen, Kay Bojesen watched the Danish Royal Guard march by every day. 20

It is likely that this inspired Kay Bojesen to forged the Royal Guard in silver. After being hidden in the attic for many years, the Royal Guard is now relaunched in a polished steel version. The Royal Guard in polished steel stands upright and proud in his uniform with the characteristic busby. In his right hand, the Royal Guard carries a rifle which rests on the right shoulder and both of his arms are moveable. The Royal Guard is an elegant hybrid between a toy and a piece of art exactly like the wooden animals which have made Kay Bojesen world-famous. The Royal Guard in steel is a tribute to Kay Bojesen and his Copenhagen. We wish to revive the Royal Guard and make it available to more in order to comply with Kay Bojesen’s belief that good design is something that everyone is entitled to.


THE ROYAL GUARD 11,9 cm

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Hair slide, Silver 2,5 / 5 / 8 cm Low Bowl, Silver 9x23 cm 22


KAY BOJESEN

SILVER

ALTHOUGH KAY BOJESEN FOUND GREAT JOY IN EXPERIMENTING WITH WOOD AND OTHER MATERIALS HE WAS FIRST AND FOREMOST A SILVERSMITH

Kay Bojesen was a trained silversmith and spend the first many years of his career on crafting silver. Kay was trained at Georg Jensen’s workshop in a backyard of Bredgade in Copenhagen, where he learned how to master Art Nouveau, curlicues, and ornamentations to perfection. His early silver crafts were hammered and heavily decorated, and the motives were often inspired by nature; flowers and insects decorated with semiprecious stones. After travelling Europe and starting his own workshop, Kay’s eyes were opened for different styles when crafting silver. In the 1920s, Kay became a strong advocate of functionalism and argued that Art Nouveau, ornamentations, and decorations belonged to a bygone era. In functionalism, the clean, simple, and engineer-like expression was honoured. Instead of ornamentation, Kay saw the warm and soft reflections of the silver as decoration in itself.

In the 1930s, Kay Bojesen put his heart and mind into crafting functionalistic silver. He created coffee pots, tea pots, trays, bowls, plates, cups, candleholders, and jewellery, among others. Kay set out to create the perfect functionalistic cutlery and in 1938, he presented the cutlery which became known as Grand Prix. Although Kay Bojesen found great joy in experimenting with wood and other materials, he was first and foremost a silversmith. Silver was his preferred material, as Kay Bojesen believed it was superior to all other materials. Today, Kay Bojesen’s silver craft stands as the flagship of his design and work

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GRAND PRIX Grand Prix cutlery, polished steel 24


“GRAND PRIX IS AT ONCE A MASTERPIECE OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGN, A SINGULAR EXPRESSION OF ARTISTIC VALUES “

Michael Sheridan Architect · Author

In the 1930s, Kay Bojesen set out to create the perfect series of functional cutlery. He shaped the cutlery to work and perform, to hold and to last. Kay didn’t want the cutlery to be driven by fashion; rather it should stand out as aesthetic utensils. This resulted in the Grand Prix cutlery. The Grand Prix cutlery has the perfect balance – not too heavy and not too light. Every piece is shaped according to its function and related by gentle, harmonious forms that reflect Kay’s sensitivity to both contour and comfort. The simple but aesthetic look makes sure that the cutlery never steals the show at a table setting. Kay Bojesen won the first prize for his cutlery at the IX Triennale di Milano in 1951. For that reason he named the cutlery after the prize: Grand Prix.

duce his cutlery in steel. This made Kay’s design available to more people, which was in line with his belief that ‘Good design is something that everyone is entitled to’. The Grand Prix cutlery was introduced in matte stainless steel in 1953. Since then, the Grand Prix cutlery has been honoured as the national cutlery of Denmark, it is permanent interior at Danish Embassy residences around the world, and prominent architects and restaurants praise the Grand Prix cutlery for its simplicity and function. The Grand Prix cutlery was introduced in polished stainless steel in 2011. Today, the Grand Prix cutlery is available in 29 pieces in both matte and polished steel, and 56 pieces in silver.

Kay Bojesen had the ability to think ahead of his time and welcome new trends and materials. Until the 1950s, the Grand Prix cutlery had only been available in silver, which was seen as a costly investment. But after the Second World War, Kay saw the industrialisation as an opportunity to pro-

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GRAND PRIX FORK

The dinner fork has a gently curving handle, held between the fore and index finger and steadied by the thumb. The dinner fork has four tines, which are quite deep, to enhance spearing and holding, and separated by subtle scallops that are particularly useful when sauce is part of the meal. The outermost tines are slightly wider, to protect against bending, and Kay Bojesen squared all four points in order to prevent injury to mouth or plate.

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GRAND PRIX KNIFE

Kay Bojesen’s dinner knife is a marvel of subtle transitions that varies in both thickness and width along its length, as it reconciles the opposing demands of grasping and cutting. The end of the handle is curved to provide comfort when pressed into the palm and the handle swells as it continues towards the blade, for greater rigidity. As the handle thickens, the width decreases and flows into shallow notches that provide resting points for the thumb and forefinger, for safety and leverage. At the transition to the blade, the thickness of the steel is quickly reduced by the gentle curves that are radiused into the sides of the handle and the top edge tapers towards the rounded end. Kay Bojesen’s dinner knife is shorter than most dinner knives, to increase rigidity, and it is curved so that more of the cutting edge comes into contact with the food.

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Kay Bojesen’s original drawings of the Grand Prix serving spoon

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GRAND PRIX SPOON

The gentle, oval bowl of the dinner spoon is deep enough for broths and soups, and the sturdy form of the spoon is nearly anonymous except for the carefully calculated angle of the handle, the apparently inevitable curvature of handle into bowl, and a single, exquisite detail that betrays Kay Bojesen’s masterful intersection of aesthetics and utility. Rather than round the edge of the bowl, where it meets the mouth, Kay Bojesen created a flat, ground surface that exploits the natural phenomenon of surface tension in liquids, creates a convex meniscus and inhibits dripping.

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GRAND PRIX

ST E E L Matte & Polished

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Dinner Knife 504 / 504p 19,5 cm

Dinner Spoon 501 / 501p 19,5 cm Dinner Fork 502 / 502p 19 cm

Lunch Knife 509 / 509p 18 cm

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Lunch Fork 506 / 506p 17 cm

Dessert Spoon Large 505 / 505p 17 cm


Dessert Spoon Small 516 / 516p 15 cm

Cake / Salad Fork 508 / 508p 15 cm

Cake Server 529 / 529p 22,5 cm

Coffee Spoon 518 / 518p 11,9 cm

Tea Spoon 517 / 517p 13 cm

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Salt Spoon 527 / 527p 6,9 cm

Child’s Spoon with Handle 554 / 554p 9 cm

Child’s Pusher 553 / 553p 9,5 cm

Child’s Spoon Fork 552 / 552p 15,5 cm

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Jam / Dessert Spoon 530 / 530p 13,5 cm


Serving Fork 521 / 521p 23,5 cm

Serving Spoon 520 / 520p 23,5 cm

Child’s Spoon 551 / 551p 15 cm

Ice / Latte Spoon 526 / 526p 18 cm

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Serving Spoon Small 522 / 522p 18,5 cm

Oyster Fork 515 / 515p 11,5 cm

Serving Fork Small 523 / 523p 18,5 cm

Gravy Spoon 533 / 533p 18,5 cm

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Lobster Fork 514 / 514p 17 cm


Fish Fork 512 / 512p 17 cm

Fish Knife 513 / 513p 19 cm

Bouillon / Dressing Spoon 511 / 511p 15,5 cm

Meat Fork 519 / 519p 22,5 cm

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Ka y B o j e s e n A p S G a m m e l Ko n g eve j 1 67 C 1 8 5 0 Fre d e r i k s b e rg DENMARK - DK i n f o @ k a y b o j e s e n .d k + 453 033 6 03 2 Instagram: kaybojesen

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Profile for Kay Bojesen

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