Classic Danish design brand Georg Jensen was first founded in 1904. Though he was first trained as a goldsmith, Georg Jensen became interested in creating beautiful and functional silver pieces, including jewellery and small items like teapots and candlesticks. He saw immediate success with his intricate goods, and the company has been considered a foundational Danish design companies ever since.
From day one, the brand has kept a careful record of every item it has produced, every book it has been included in, press cuttings, and sketches. This archive is found at the Georg Jensen headquarters in Copenhagen, but don’t expect to be told where to find it. “Please take as many pictures as you like,” Archivist Ida Heiberg Bøttiger tells us as we wander around the room, “but do not take any images that include the windows. We are not allowed to divulge where in the building this archive sits.”
The archive is a small room packed to the gills with papers, books, and gleaming silver. There’s an extensive library of books that feature Georg Jensen, as well as other relevant materials on silversmithing, Scandinavian design, and jewellery design.
Shelves and cupboards scattered around the room and on the walls hold endless pieces of silver, from milk jugs to bowls to small statues. There’s jewellery from every decade since Jensen began his company – a confirmation belt dotted with amethyst from 1911, and many original pieces from Swedish jewellery designer Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe such as the Dew Drop Necklace, and the classic Vivianna watch.
The Georg Jensen archive is a living archive, which means that those within the company are allowed to interact with the contents, find inspiration, explore details, and glean new information. It’s also protected by the Danish government, so should Georg Jensen ever decide to put itself on the market, the archive would stay in the possession of Denmark. Ida tells us that’s quite rare, and it points to how important this archive is in understanding the history of Danish design.
Seeing and touching these pieces set in the context of their design history was a joy and a gift.
Join us for a tour of classic Danish design brand Georg Jensen’s archive, including their silver, jewellery, and more:
Photography by Freya August
Want to see more behind the scenes at Georg Jensen? Stay tuned for our tour of the silversmith workshop, coming soon!