Kay Bojesen

Monkey, Oiled teak (small)


Kay Bojesen considered himself a craftsman, not a designer. His things weren’t supposed to be drawn. They were shaped in order to work and perform, to hold and to last. Kay knew that utilities were born from demand, not aesthetic reflections.

Kay Bojesen was born in 1886 and grew up in a creative home. His father was Ernst Bojesen, co-founder of the publishing house Det Nordiske Forlag, which later became known as Gyldendal.

Young Kay started his training in a grocery store, but as luck has it, he was offered an apprenticeship at Georg Jensen’s newly established silversmith. The time called for Art Nouveau rules with hammered surfaces, but Kay’s eye for form and function made him responsive to new currents. Kay Bojesen became a great advocate of functionalism, and he was fascinated by the clean, smooth surfaces of the silver, where the material and it’s reflections were decoration in itself.

In 1938, Kay Bojesen presented the ultimate cutlery series in silver, crafted out of the belief that cutlery was a tool that shouldn’t steal the picture at a table setting. All pieces of cutlery were crafted with soft and harmonious shapes in order to fit the human hand and mouth. In 1951, Kay’s silverware took the first prize at the world exhibition in Milan, and was therefore named “Grand Prix”.

In 1952, Kay Bojesen was appointed Purveyor to His Majesty the King of Denmark – “for long and regular trade with the Court”. But not just crowned heads feast on Grand Prix. The cutlery is used to set the tables in Danish Embassy residences around the world, and therefore pride itself with the rare title “Embassy-Cutlery”.

Kay Bojesen was innovative and mastered besides silver, steel, and wood also materials such as bamboo, melamine, porcelain, and tin. In the last part of his career, Kay had his workshop in the backroom of Bredgade 47 in Copenhagen, at his best in a white coat and with Mrs. Erna Bojesen at the cash register. The assortment was a jumble of polished silverware, monkeys, rocking horses and royal guards, bamboo prams and Finn Juhl’s teak bowls, spun at Magnus Monsen’s carpentry shop across the street.

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