Unsung Scandinavian designer Quistgaard featured in Phaidon monograph
NEW YORK – On March 8, Phaidon will release Jens Quistgaard: The Sculpting Designer, the first English-language book to celebrate the work of an unsung hero of modern design. Jens Quistgaard (1919-2008) was one of the founders of the Scandinavian Modern style, which he popularized in the USA as chief designer at the iconic Dansk Designs for 30 years. Today, his work is celebrated by design fans across the world and Quistgaard’s philosophy – that utilitarian, everyday items should function harmoniously – is as relevant as it ever was. This book delves deep into Quistgaard’s life and work to reveal his significant contribution to design history.
Jens Quistgaard: The Sculpting Designer traces Quistgaard’s creative journey, from his formative years in Copenhagen and early career in the decorative arts, to the Dansk years and the designer’s enduring legacy in the 21st century. Seven chronological chapters bursting with insights and anecdotes comprise the main text of the book, followed by 30 in-depth case studies of Quistgaard’s key designs and an extensive illustrated inventory.
This narrative is accompanied by never-before-seen sketches, archival images and ephemera, as well newly commissioned photography of Quistgaard’s work and home. Combined, these elements present the most comprehensive record of Quistgaard’s work ever published.
Jens Quistgaard began his career as a portrait painter and relief sculptor before moving to jewelry and product design in the 1950s. In 1954, he was scouted by the US businessman Ted Nierenberg and his wife Martha during their honeymoon in Europe. This chance encounter solidified their resolve to go into partnership together and Dansk Designs was formed.
During the next 30 years, Quistgaard would work as chief designer at Dansk, where he designed several thousand products and established himself as one of the key figures in the Scandinavian Modern movement, bringing Danish design to millions of homes across the USA, Europe and Japan. His notable designs include the sterling silver cutlery set Tjorn (1959), the Kobenstyle range of colorful enameled saucepans (1955) and the Rare Woods (1961) line of trays, ice buckets and pepper mills in teak and other precious woods.
Today, Quistgaard’s work is represented at major museums in Europe and the USA, including Designmuseum Denmark, MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum. Many of his designs are still in production and continue to delight design lovers everywhere.
Jens Quistgaard: The Sculpting Designer is written by Stig Guldberg, an independent consultant, curator and film director who has interviewed and written extensively on Quistgaard and is an authority on his work. Guldberg’s book is the most comprehensive on Quistgaard to date and a stunning addition to Phaidon’s unrivaled design list, perfect for fans of mid-century and Scandinavian design. The 280-page hardcover features 500 illustrations and is priced at $89.95.