The Henning Koppel Story
Designer Henning Koppel’s masterful eye dared to envisage the future by challenging convention. His visionary sensibilities lifted the commonplace to the sublime through a fundamentally Scandinavian approach to design.
A trained sculptor and graduate of the Royal Danish Academy, Henning Koppel made his mark as a designer. In 1945, aged 27, Koppel began working at Georg Jensen where he remained until his death in 1981. During his time at Georg Jensen he experimented with sculptural forms to create jewellery, hollowware and flatware designs that were a radical departure from the brand’s existing product portfolio, and which began what was to become a new era in Danish design.
Pioneering what is today regarded as Danish design functionalism–making everyday objects practical as well as beautiful–Koppel’s pared-down simplicity showcases the very essence of elegance and his purist approach to his medium. An outstanding draftsman, Koppel’s drawing skills were honed since childhood: His assured brush strokes and creative genius, coupled with the skilled craftsmanship of Georg Jensen’s renowned silversmiths, led to the creation of what was later to become some of the most iconic and timeless designs from the hand of Koppel.
His characteristic clean forms and understated elegance marry function and minimalist form. And devoid of non-essential elements, Koppel’s design is a lasting symbol of refined elegance and artistic perfection. Like the master designer Georg Jensen, organic, natural forms found in nature inspired Henning Koppel’s designs. His smooth, elegant lines and sculptural excellence pioneered the modern design movement and later served to renew the silversmith traditions of the time.
From the organic vertebrae-like forms of his silver jewellery to the meticulously clean forms of his hollowware, and the iconic elegance of his wristwatches, Henning Koppel’s work today remains highly sought-after. The monumental design of Koppel’s Fish Dish, a design triumph that placed Scandinavia on the global design map, is a work of art; his eponymous wristwatch is a lesson in confidence and enduring luxury; and his hollowware pitcher embodies the essence of luxurious, sculptural craftsmanship.
Henning Koppel won many significant accolades throughout his career as a designer – including the prestigious Milan Triennial and the International Design Award of the American Institute of Interior Designers. Yet, arguably, his greatest achievement and most poignant legacy is the democratic Danish silverware designs he created during almost four decades at Georg Jensen. His designs have made their way into millions of homes across the world, and their elegant simplicity ensures that the individual expression of each home is never overshadowed by them but is instead perfectly enhanced.