The traditional Danish brand Georg Jensen has brought California-based Kelly Wearstler to its roster. The end result? Something that is definitely American but with smooth lines like Danish design.
The collection, Frequency, is representative of a clear change in the relatively traditionalist thinking of the major ‘old school’ manufacturing firms, many of which have been sold (and re-sold) over the past few decades. No longer is production based around nationalist pride- the need to compete on an even more global scale has made the smarter firms re-evaluate and re-define their roles in the design industry.
Scandinavian design generally emerges from natural influences. Finns such as Tapio Wirkkala and Tino Sarpaneva were inspired by craft and the ice, sea, and land that surrounded them in natural form and patterning, while the European-based Danes championed the design ethics of their Southern neighbors in the same materials with an emphasis on more modernist forms tied to clearly defined function. Denmark, a constitutional monarchy, also has a more general opulence to its design with a greater influence on interpretation of natural forms and use of higher-end materials.
The Danish manufacturer Georg Jensen is a good example of traditionalist Danish/Scandinavian design. Founded in 1904 by Ceramist & Silversmith Georg Jensen (no less), the brand produced difficult production silver works (now marketed as Masterworks), occasionally incorporating semi-precious stones. The company was at the forefront of modernist Danish design during the mid-20th century primarily through work with (mostly) other Danes such as Verner Panton, Henning Koppel, and Arne Jacobsen.
Juxtapose this with Wearstler. American as apple pie, Wearstler was a Southern belle who headed west to seek her fortune in Hollywood, dallying with Playboy and set design before beginning the path to author, retailer, TV Judge and the like. Her style is clearly American Wunderkammer, with a general focus steeped in mid-century design augmented with the miscellany of product from two plus centuries of foreign trade in her homeland. With a roster of Hollywood Stars’ homes done by her firm, Wearstler is closer to Billy Haines‘ mantel then anyone in recent memory.
The Wearstler-Jensen pairing works, however, because it is influenced by Danish design. Nature is still involved in the design process. Wearstler’s Frequency collection takes its influence from the sine wave, the purest of tones, now frozen in stainless steel. As the designer states, “The wave is an iconic form from nature and it has a pure spirit that resonates on a visceral level.” The result is a series of well-designed and functional home decor items.
Priced from &95. Shipping in April 2019 from Amusespot.com.
Now accepting orders.