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Danish designer Nanna Ditzel is known for the incredible breadth of her work during the post-war period and beyond, including furniture, interiors, textile, and jewelry. She perfectly encapsulates the design critic’s Alice Rawsthorn idea of “attitudinal design,” meaning that Ditzel designs from a conceptual, visionary place rather than a specialized category.
Her designs marry form and function, but always with an element of playful aesthetics that goes beyond the typical, well-known Scandinavian minimalist style. While Ditzel’s work can be characterized as a riff on functionalism, and is rooted deeply in organic modernism, it is certainly not minimalism.
Nanna had studios in both her native Denmark and in London. At the beginning of her career in Denmark, she worked in partnership with her husband Jørgen Ditzel. When Jørgen died in 1961, Nanna continued designing on her own. She married her second husband Kurt Heide in 1968, and moved to London where Heide was a furniture dealer. When he died in 1985, Ditzel moved back to Copenhagen, re-established her studio, and worked for another 20 year until her death in 2005. Whether working in a partnership or on her own, Ditzel managed to find a design DNA that was both continuously modern and unique to her own vision.
For International Women’s Day, Georg Jensen is re-launching a number of Ditzel’s jewelry designs for a limited time.
Nanna Ditzel designed jewelry for Danish silver company Georg Jensen starting in 1954. Though Georg Jensen’s roster of jewelry designers have included many women since, Ditzel was the first to design for Georg Jensen, and her designs remain among their most striking, still relevant today.
International Women’s Day was first put forth by the Socialist Party of America in 1909 and was mostly celebrated in Communist countries in the the United Nations adopted it in 1977. In Denmark, it is a day dedicated to celebrating womanhood; this has often translated into unearthing the narratives and work of influential women who have not been given the credit they deserve.
Nanna Ditzel is one such designer.
Though she is well-respected in Denmark, her name is not known on the scale of other important Danish designers such as Arne Jacobsen or Finn Juhl, though many of her designs are still in production today and remain popular. Georg Jensen’s relaunch of her work is a step towards correcting that imbalance.
Nanna Ditzel’s jewelry work is characterized by organic shapes that complement the body, yet are still visually dynamic in a way that makes each piece stand out. They’re statement pieces that are somehow also ideal for every day wear. These are investment pieces that will remain stylish for life; the kind of pieces you’ll pass down to the next generation. These pieces are heavy and substantial, but they sit beautifully on the skin, somehow seemingly conforming to the lines of the wearer.
The Georg Jensen collection includes two sets: some of her most popular work in sterling silver, and a few lesser known pieces in 18K gold with blue moonstone. The silver collection is made up of a bracelet, a bangle, two pairs of earrings, a brooch, a cocktail ring, and a necklace.
The Nanna Ditzel collection for Georg Jensen is available from 8th March through the end of 2021 only, online and in-stores.
Find out more about the most influential designs by Nanna Ditzel.