The Object Lesson

Swedish Fathers of Modern Design

Kosta, Boda and Orrefors are names that immediately conjure up images of Scandinavian modernity. So it’s fascinating to find out that they are companies that have their origins in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Kosta Glasbruk (glass factory) started in 1742 by two enterprising army officers-Anders Koskul and Georg Stael von Holstein and their glassworks were located some 400 km from Sweden’s stylish capital Stockholm. Surrounded by endless mossy forests, the ample pine trees supplied the fuel for the furnaces for the design warehouses. How nice it would be to visit Sweden’s forest now.

The company name is the combination of the first letters of each of their names and for many years they specialised in window glass, chandeliers and tableware. Whilst their work was of the highest quality it was criticised in the late 19th century as being imitative of other European glassware. This criticism was met constructively and a conscious decision was made to find a distinctly Swedish style. Employing local designers and harnessing Swedish ethos and talent, this was the early foundations laid for the distinct clean cut, minimalist quality made Swedish style we covet today.

The Object Lesson will be a periodic feature highlighting an exceptional Object from the month’s collection. This Object Lesson was presented by Ronan Sulich, curator, collector and writer of the Archaean World.

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