Kay Bojesen, Craft Designer

Kay Bojesen, a bit of a legend to say the least. He’s been on my radar for a little while now and I’ve been studying this Danish designer to see what I could find on him and his work. It’s always great to find out new information and Kay is actually tied to the design scene in more than one way. Born in 1886 he was an apprentice to the one and only Georg Jensen, where he trained as a silversmith from 1906. Originally he took on quite an Art Nouveau type style, possibly through Jensen’s influence, but later he ended up being inspired by a favourite designer of mine named Magnus Stephensen, among others. This meant the work he was producing was a lot simpler and more functional, after a few years in both Germany and France he moved on to work as a silversmith in Copenhagen, then in the 1930’s realised he really liked the properties of wood as a material. As any designer would do he experimented with different forms and shapes, one interest was the different woods such as oak, maple, beech and teak. This led him onto creating some of his most famous toys, the teak and limba monkey for example that can be seen throughout this post, pretty genius if you ask me.

I have to say I like the idea of creating toys for children, they really think critically about how an object works and they can judge it pretty quickly, give them less than a minute and they will tell you if it’s their cup of tea or not. Most adults don’t do this as emotions get in the way, they’ve been affected by culture and society. Mr Bojesen was quite the character and he always had a fun and warm side, but ultimately he was also a genius in other parts of design. Like his furniture for children was well received, he was an incredible designer of jewellery and he also liked to dabble in cutlery design, which I think is his ultimate strength. Some of these home ware collections are to die for. He had a great eye aesthetically and always looked at the balance of the object, this probably came from his background as a silversmith and from creating functional products at such a young age. It’s funny how you see a real connection between all these minimalist and simplistic designers, they have a lot in common with each other.

Kay always said his objects should have life, blood and a heart. People should be able to pick them up, and they should radiate humanity, warmth and vibrancy. I definitely think he’s achieved this with his toys, any child or adult would cherish these, in fact they would get passed down for many generations. So why not have a browse below at some of this photography that the guys at Rosendahl kindly sent me, it’s great to see shots of the man enjoying his work and showcasing his true character. It gives the toys that extra something.