A tour of the Georg Jensen silver workshops in Copenhagen

December 17, 2010 by  

What does Georg Jensen mean to you? Before I had a behind the scenes tour of the Georg Jensen workshops in Copenhagen, I might have thought of beautiful, handcrafted antique silverware, some simple Scandinavian cutlery designs or Arts and Crafts style jewellery. I discovered that it is all these things but there’s a fresh vibe in the air that’s reinventing all that heritage for a younger, design conscious audience.

The tour that I made as part of the TBEX travel bloggers exchange conference in Copenhagen is only available by special arrangement as the workshops aren’t open to the public, but still let me give you give you a glimpse of what we saw.

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

We were taken around by the lovely Anne Mette, business manager of silver who talked us through 100 years of Georg Jensen designs, illustrated by an impressive array of table settings, champagne bowls and silver dishes laid out in chronological order to illustrate how different designers had made their mark on the company. We saw the simple wooden cabinet where Georg Jensen would display his designs in the early days, making just a few pieces at a time to earn cash to buy the next batch of silver. His work was inspired by the arts and crafts movement with his trademark beaten finish and motifs inspired by fruits and flowers of the natural world.

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

As we there in the late afternoon, some of the silversmiths were still at work and it was fascinating to see the benches laid out with design sketches that they were working from and pick up pieces of dull metal shapes that would end up as an heirloom  fit to grace any royal table. The large bowl being worked on could have passed for a battered old washing up bowl but would soon become a specially commissioned champagne bowl like those on display.

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

After Georg Jensen’s death in 1935, the company collaborated with top Scandinavian designers, bringing clean and simple designs such as the pitcher by Henning Koppel that goes by the affectionate nickname of ‘the pregnant duck’ or the Vivianna bangle watch by Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe that was recently spotted on the wrist of Lady Gaga. The daisy collection is held in particular affection as it is associated with the Danish Royal family and was worn by Queen Margrethe at her wedding.

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Now the company is drawing on the archives and bringing out the old designs to reinvent them for a new audience. We saw the moonlight collection on display that uses the original Georg Jensen Art Nouveau designs, and the grape collection that has just been launched with a chunky bauble ring that all the girls were trying on, based on the original grape brooch and earring designs. You can read my post about the Georg Jensen Grape ring here.

Georg Jensen  silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

We enjoyed some champagne while the CEO, Ulrik Garde Due told us about his plans to develop Georg Jensen as the leading Scandinavian luxury brand, with new jewellery designs to appeal to a younger, fashion conscious audience and co-ordinated lifestyle products for the home. He was part of the team that transformed Burberry from an upmarket purveyor of raincoats into a trendy fashion brand, so it sounded like the future was bright, with stores opening all over the Far East where they can’t get enough of luxury brands. I fear that the pitch was rather lost on most of the travel bloggers present, but as I once worked in the fashion industry for the English fashion brand, Jaeger, it was all great fun for me.

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop , Copenhagen

Georg Jensen bust

Georg Jensen bust

As I said, the tour was specially set up for us TBEX bloggers but if you’re passing through Copenhagen airport, do indulge in a trying on session at  the Georg Jensen store in the airport or in any city where they happen to have a shop. Say that Heather on her Travels sent you!

This article is posted as part of Photo Friday hosted at Delicious Baby. Head over for more Friday photos and stories from the gang.

Compare prices and book hotels in Copenhagen through Hotels Combined.

More fun things from Copenhagen

What the TBEX girls want for Christmas – A Georg Jensen grape ring
Cosy up in Copenhagen at Avenue Hotel
Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary

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heatheronhertravels' Copenhagen for TBEX photoset heatheronhertravels’ Copenhagen for TBEX photoset

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Comments

11 Comments on "A tour of the Georg Jensen silver workshops in Copenhagen"

  1. Monna McD on Sat, 18th Dec 2010 12:28 am 

    That is a very cool tour. The production of silver jewelery was a huge deal in Mexico and here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (It’s one of my favourite stories!) Lovely photos, Heather.
    Monna McD´s last blog post ..Friday Meditation- Golden Pavillion- Kyoto

  2. KristyHarris on Sat, 18th Dec 2010 2:34 am 

    Amazing tour thanks for sharing!
    KristyHarris´s last blog post ..Friday Photo- Angkor Wat Cambodia

  3. Andrea on Sat, 18th Dec 2010 4:07 am 

    I love tours like this where you get to go behind the scenes and see the design and craft work that goes into the world’s luxury brands. A great post, since it looks like it was a one- off experience not everyone gets to have!
    Andrea´s last blog post ..Bungas’s Beer of the Week

  4. Hels on Sat, 18th Dec 2010 4:28 pm 

    I would also love to go on that same tour.

    But I have a question. Georg Jensen silver became famous all around the world because of its gorgeous arts and crafts or art nouveau taste. But does this generation of young trendoids still admire that 1900-35 taste?
    Hels´s last blog post ..Delhi Durbar – grandly celebrating British colonialism

  5. Corfu Villas on Sun, 19th Dec 2010 8:46 am 

    Excellent post. Its a great place to visit for a vacation. Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. Heather Cowper on Sun, 19th Dec 2010 3:50 pm 

    @ Hels You’re quite right, I also had an image of Georg Jensen living on it’s Arts and Crafts Heritage, a bit like Liberty of London, but they’ve worked with many Scandinavian designers over the year and much of their range is very clean and modern. Also they are taking designs from the archives and then reworking them into something much more youthful and trendy, like the grape ring I mentioned that was based on an art nouveau brooch but has been remade into something very modern.

  7. Barbara Weibel on Thu, 23rd Dec 2010 12:23 am 

    Lucky you to get a special backroom tour and thanks for sharing it.
    Barbara Weibel´s last blog post ..Three Views of Pokhara- Nepal Capture My Heart

  8. PNR Status on Thu, 23rd Dec 2010 2:14 pm 

    A great post, since it looks like it was a one- off experience not everyone gets to have!

  9. Where Heather travelled in 2010 | Heather on her travels on Sat, 1st Jan 2011 2:50 pm 

    [...] such as the  SEO skit, listening to other speakers, special events such as the tour of the Georg Jensen Silver Workshops and eating in some great restaurants. I didn’t spend as much time as I’d like seeing [...]

  10. Top 5 Gastronomic Wonders of Copenhagen | Heather on her travels on Fri, 22nd Apr 2011 1:53 pm 

    [...] A tour of the Georg Jensen silver workshops in Copenhagen Cosy up in Copenhagen at Avenue Hotel Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary [...]

  11. Weekend in Copenhagen in Denmark - Podcast | Heather on her travels on Sun, 17th Jul 2011 10:22 pm 

    [...] We also visited the Georg Jensen store with silver jewellery and watches – I visited the Georg Jensen workshops in a previous visit to Copenhagen and saw some of the heritage pieces being [...]

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