Glass vase by Nils Landberg for Orrefors for the “Dusk” line of vases. Signed by the designer

Nils Landberg Dusk

Nils Landberg Dusk Vase 1959

Landberg worked for Orrefors between 1925-1972, initially as an engraver and from 1936 as a designer. He started engraving glass and debuted at the Paris Exhibition in 1937 and also participated in the World Exhibition in New York in 1939. Particularly famous is his tulip glass from the early 1950’s. He won the Gold Medal at the Triennial in Milan in 1957 and his works are represented at several museums in Sweden, among others at the National Museum in Stockholm as well as in Germany and the USA.

Landsberg’s public embellishments can be found in hotels, restaurants and banquet rooms around Sweden.

Nils Landberg Collection 3 Dusk Axe Heads

Nils Landberg for Orrefors ‘Axe’ Head Black Smoked Glass Collection

PER LÜTKEN – The most widely known of the Danish glass designers.

Per Lütken (1916-1998) was the unsurpassed master of Danish glass design and one of Holmegaard’s most advanced glass designers.

He worked at the Holmegaard Glass Factory from 1942 until his death in 1998 and has created more than 3,000 glass designs which we still love today.. Many of his ranges have become classics and are synonymous with the quality that Holmegaard is famous for and are sought after by collectors and designers, stunning, timeless and potentially an excellent investment.

Per Lütken became an inspiration to all glass designers.  He was known for his perfectionism and persistence and made great demands on the glass blowers.

Not happy to accept defeat and in the pursuit of orginality, sometimes the technicians felt the designs were too difficult to blow in glass – Lütken’s response was always nothing worthwhile in life comes easy…

Rydd and Holmegaard Carnaby Cased Glass Collection Late 1950s

Rydd and Holmegaard Carnaby Cased Glass Collection Late 1950s

Holmegaard Gulvase and Dish designed by Per Lutken 1958

Holmegaard Gulvase and Dish designed by Per Lutken 1958

In Per Lütken’s opinion, glasses should have a certain natural weight,.  Based on his philosophy, he created the thick, lip-friendly glasses with soft curves.

Pers Lutken Vase for Holmegaard and Selendia Dish late 50s

Pers Lutken Vase for Holmegaard and Selendia Dish late 50s

Lütken is also the man responsible for the Provence bowl (1955) the Selendia dish (1957)

Holmegaard 'Carnaby' Carafe

Holmegaard ‘Carnaby’ Carafe

Holmegaard yellow glass Cased Gulvase Design Per Lutken 1958

Holmegaard yellow glass Cased Gulvase Design Per Lutken 1958

Holmegaard’s first designer

Jacob E. Bang (1899-1965)

Jacob and was first employed at the glass factory in the 1920s. Jacob had trained initially as an architect, but after working at the glass fac

Jacob E. Bang is known as Denmark’s first industrial designer and the creator of functionalism in Danish glass. His design mantra was ‘beautiful, strong, practical and cheap’, and it was his words that formed the basis for the Holmegaard Glass Factory mission statement: “Every Dane should be given the opportunity to own a Holmegaard glass”. I think this is objective reflects the soul of good man.

Good design should be for everyone and the scandinavians are right.  I scoured the charity shops as 13 year old for pieces for my bedroom.  Rummaged through my grandmother’s cupboards – two of my favourite pieces today come from IKEA designed by top Glass designers.  It is also so exciting to ‘customise’ clothing to make your style unique and learn a craft at the same time.

During his time at the glass factory, he designed a number of products that have now become collector’s items.

20th Century – The  Art of Murano Glass, the Heavy Weights

In the beginning of the 20th century, the master glassmakers of Murano were still reproducing classical styles and rediscovering ancient techniques, 

 Murrino (mosaic), which was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century by Vittorio Zuffi while working for Fratelli Toso. This technique originally emerged in the 16th century in an effort to imitate ancient Roman vases. Murano’s famous firm Artisti Barovier received the Honorary Diploma and the Gold Medal. Other artists enjoying popularity in Murano at the time were Salviati, Testolini, and The Toso Brothers (Fratelli Toso).

From the early 1900s  the avant-garde and art noveau styles were gaining strength in Europe and a fissure between the classical Murano craftsmen and those who were receptive to change – the leader of this movement Vitorrio Toso Borella

In the 1920s, art nouveau slowly got replaced by more modern styles with simpler, cleaner, and more functional designs. Art deco took the center stage and with it came less decorated objects with softer lines and more focus on glassware as part of interior design, not a piece of art in and of itself. A new company, Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Capellin Venini, founded in 1921 under Vittorio Zecchin as its head designer became the champion of this style.

Post World War II was over, arguably once of the most creative periods over the last century in both the U.SA and Europe.   The glass masters of Murano returned to their art and created pieces deeply rooted in interior design trends of that time with focus on minimalism, functionality, and simplicity.  The  West German Ceramics exploding with colour and texture

To support these trends Murano artists and artisans returned to techniques of the past such as filigree, murrino, and lattimo. From that point onwards,  Murano saw continued exploration of styles and techniques striving to find a happy medium between the technical mastery and the outline, color, and decoration.

Mille Fiori Fratelli Toso Murano 1950s

Mille Fiori Fratelli Toso Murano 1950s

The resulting continuous innovation led to a rise in popularity and to multiple prizes at various international art exhibitions. Thanks to such prominent artists as Archimede Seguso, Ludovico and Laura De Santillana, Tobia Scarpa, Ercole Barovier, Fulvio Bianconi, Toni Zuccheri, Romano Chrivi, Giampaolo Martinuzzi, and Alfredo Barbini, Murano again became known as the glassblowing capital of the world. Murano now created the art trends as opposed to following them in the years past.

Millefiori (which means “a thousand flowers” in Italian) has remained virtually unchanged since when it was first rediscovered by Venetian masters in the sixteenth century. The Roman “murrina” or millefiori glassware, is still used by Murano masters and the pieces coming from Masters such as Venini, and Fratelli Toso



 In this video you can see how an experienced Murano Glass master in his family workshop on Murano island creates a Millefiori slipper.

Michael Harris Mdina and Isle of Wight Glass

The new wave of glass artists working in much the same way as the massive growth of studio potters did in the early 60 influenced Michael Harris and inspired him to work in the new way of working glass. Two of the most influential of these artists were ceramicist Harvey Littleton and his colleague Dominic Labino.Michael’s enthusiasm and belief that this was a  wonderful opportunity to develop and emulate this movement in the U. K.

Mdina Lollipops/Fish Heads by Michael Harris

Mdina Lollipops/Fish Heads by Michael Harris

Michael’s ideas were accepted in principle by the very rigid and staid hierarchy of the Royal College of Art

Collection of Mdina Lollipops/Fish Heads Michael Harris

Collection of Mdina Lollipops/Fish Heads Michael Harris

Collection of Mdina Fish Head/Axe Lollipop Vases by Michael Harris

Collection of Mdina Fish Head/Axe Lollipop Vases by Michael Harris

Working with, and learning from, Sam inspired Michael to express his art through free expression of colour and form.

This approach came to the attention of the established Whitefriars Glass Studios  appeared adopting some of those principles under the guidance of  Geoffrey Baxter.

This movement gained much publicity by the world press, particularly in the U. K., given to the fact that the British protectorate of Malta was keen to establish security in it’s new found independence by building it’s commercial strength and stability.

The Maltese government at the time were keen to attract skills from abroad and entrepreneurs to develop local talent. – Michael found the prospect of an idyllic lifestyle in a beautiful location doing the work he loved.

With tourists flocking to the island – the studio was an instant success. Michael employed and trained any Maltese national with enthusiasm to learn: teaching them to make glass  with in the freeform designs and the newest techniques.  Michael also intended to carry on developing glass design “Our best work will be done tomorrow’!

Nationalist government, headed by Dom Mintoff, was keen to expel any semblance of British influence and, due to the instant success of Mdina Glass, they felt Michael had fulfilled his role. Sadly Michael was subsequently pressured to leave Malta.