I’m not really a specialist on silverware as such, I have a bit of a push pull relationship with objects of shine and that element of lure. Although I’m quite the functionalist at heart I’ve been drawn to objects with that in-between for a fair while now and this tableware by Magnus Stephensen for Georg Jensen is a perfect example of that.
Magnus was a bit of a legend in my eyes, he graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in 1931 and set up his own design studio. His early career involved the design of apartment buildings, schools and waterworks, but later he designed smaller objects which could be used in the home. His first taste of designing silverware was for Kay Bojesen Silversmithy in the early 1930’s where he designed stainless steel pans and lots of variations of cutlery. As he progressed he moved over to designing ceramic pots and dishes for Royal Copenhagen and then more silver and stainless flatware and hollowware pieces for Georg Jensen from 1950 onwards. It’s both thrilling and astonishing the amount of pieces that he actually ended up designing, all of them had this timeless and natural feel, much like the objects you see above and below. I think it’s rare to find stainless steel and silver objects like this anymore, even on the Georg Jensen website you can’t find objects specifically as good as this, in my opinion anyway.
Interestingly enough Stephensen was very much influenced by Japanese design, and I think you can definitely see this in his work here. Clean and simple forms are the key, he even created a book back in the late 60’s titled “Brugsting Fra Japan” (“Useful Things from Japan”) which documented some of his favourite items from the country. Even though you may not of heard of Magnus’ name before he influenced many Danish designers and led a lot of them into the world of functionalist design, something very low key back then. Kay Bojesen for example was one of Georg Jensen’s first apprentice’s and became an important Danish silversmith and designer who believed in functionalist design. Stephensen’s work reflected Bojesen’s influence.
To this day Stephensen’s objects are still included in many important collections and he has been involved in lots of exhibitions around the world. I definitely think this is a designer you should be looking up over the week, he’s got a massive archive of work and you can learn a lot from his practical forms and architectural like structure.