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In 2022, Danish heritage brand Georg Jensen launched an update of the iconic Koppel Pitcher by Danish designer and silversmith Henning Koppel. The modern iteration is just the beginning of a series of new versions of Georg Jensen classics, a project led by Georg Jensen’s Creative Director Ragnar Hjartarson.
Hjartarson, who was at Georg Jensen from 2005 – 2010 before coming back as Creative Director in 2021, counts preservation of the cultural heritage of Georg Jensen as part of his purview. To that end, he believes in marrying the classic with the modern to ensure that heritage designs never feel stale or left in the past.
We spoke with Hjartarson about the process behind this intriguing launch, how it’s been received, and what’s next for Georg Jensen:
How did the idea of the colored Koppel pitcher come about?
The pitcher was originally designed by Henning Koppel in the 1950s. It was designed to be created in sterling silver, and only one item was ever made.
It was re-launched in stainless steel in 2009; at the time I was with the company. It became one of the most iconic products we have on the market today.
When rejoining Georg Jensen in 2021, my wish was to rejuvenate some of the brand’s most iconic products by using different colors and materials without overshadowing the original products. The Koppel pitcher is the first in the series of these rejuvenations.
Happily, I did not meet any internal resistance to this idea. On the contrary: my colleagues were excited about this new challenge from a development, marketing, and commercial perspective.
How is color added to the pitcher? Please explain a bit about the production process and how it’s different from the original pitcher.
It is a hand-crafted wet-painting process on the original stainless-steel product. The product and the material are the same, but an additional layer of craftsmanship has been added on top of it.
The colors you chose for this release are based on the original colors in Henning Koppel’s sketches. Do you think Koppel would have been a fan of this version?
I am in close dialogue with the Koppel family, which is a real pleasure as we exchange ideas and opinions. They are a source of inspiration.
I have no doubt that Henning Koppel would have appreciated the evolution of his original design from silver to steel to a colorful palette, inspired by his own colorful world.
When you have a modern take on a classic item, you run the risk of people being offended or feeling like it’s gone “too far from the original.” How have people reacted to this version of the pitcher?
The reactions from our customers have been extremely positive since the launch of the color series. They appreciate the newness, which emphasizes the elegant form of Henning Koppel’s design in a playful way.
It was essential for me to respect the form. The colored versions actually allow it to stand out even more.
Is it important to take risks in design?
To confront the unknown in creativity, and to be innovative, is about taking risks.
Innovation has always been at the heart of Georg Jensen’s strategy. Collaborations with external designers have contributed to the creation of design icons which have stood the test of time.
The Koppel pitcher is a signature Georg Jensen icon; by respecting its original form, the new color series give it a fresh and contemporary expression.
Purchase the new Georg Jensen Koppel Pitcher here.
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