Reflections in glass
Holmegaard history – Founded by a woman who was ahead of her time
With a long and proud tradition of glass production since 1825, Holmegaard is a Danish design icon and one of the most recognised names in Scandinavian craftsmanship traditions. Holmegaard’s cultural heritage is more than just a tale of quality craftsmanship over time. Holmegaard builds on the heritage of a remarkable woman who was ahead of her time – Countess Henriette Danneskiold-Samsøe – who not only pursued her late husband’s dream of creating a glasswork by Holmegaard marsh, but who also managed to transform it into ab artistic and aesthetic house that is still relevant today.
Holmegaard produces both mouth-blown and machine-blown glass using the latest and most advanced production methods. Whether it’s mouth-blown or machine-made glass, Holmegaard always represents high quality and elegant design. Each piece of mouth-blown glass is unique and handmade by the glassblower, who carefully blows the right amount of air through the narrow pipe. Mouth blown glass from Holmegaard is known on the swan logo.
However, machine-blown glass does not mean glass produced without hard work. To ensure glass of the same high quality and elegance as mouth-blown glass, the machine-blown glass must go through an advanced production method that requires specially manufactured tools and high precision. Machine production is not just an automatic process that runs on rails. Machine workers work between glass spraying and noisy machines to ensure everything rotates, opens, closes, heats up, cools down, cuts and grinds at just the right time.
The story behind Holmegaard
Holmegaards Glasværk's history begins in 1823, when Count Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe applies to the Danish king to build a glassworks in Holmegaard marsh. But in 1823, the Count dies without receiving a reply to his application, and his widow Henriette is left with six children. When Henriette receives the King’s permission to construct the glassworks shortly after her husband’s death, she decides to continue the project.
Love of glass art
So in 1825 she founded Holmegaard Glasværk, and a small community of schools, good homes and market-based businesses began to grow. The glassworks was built on the marshland, because this location could provide the amount of fuel needed for the glass ovens’ high temperatures, and in 1825 the first production of Holmegaard Glasværk began. In the beginning, the glassworks only produces green bottles, but Henriette also wants to produce clear drinking glasses. Bohemian glassmakers are hired for the job as they are possess the fine craftsmanship skills required to do this.
Henriette becomes one of Denmark’s first female business leaders. And based on her correspondence with Hans Christian Andersen and other famous names, a picture of a very gifted, socially responsible and driven woman begins to emerge.
Up until 1831, Holmegaard worked with one stove, and only bottles were manufactured, but from 1832, household glass and later artificial and industrial glass were also produced.
From small glass workshops to the modern group
Holmegaard joined Royal Copenhagen in 1985 (since Royal Scandinavia), but in 2008 Holmegaard was taken over by Rosendahl Design Group. The old glassworks building in Holmegaard came under compulsory auction in March 2010 and was taken over by Sparekassen Faaborg.
Holmegaard Glasværk’s history is a story about a couple of small glass workshops in a peat marsh, which over the course of 190 years would become a large, modern group. In 1906, Svend Hammershøi designed the wine glass series that became the first design from Holmegaard Glasværk. This marked the start of bringing other artists in to design and shape Holmegaard’s glassware. In 1928, Jacob E. Bang was employed as Holmegaard’s first designer and he created the JEB 65 vase. And from the 1940s, Per Lütken breathed life into more than 3,000 glass designs.
Today, we can look back at the many different designers and artists who have helped ensure Holmegaard’s development. And we are continuing the long and proud tradition, which means that to this day some of Denmark’s best artists are associated with Holmegaard’s glass production.
Holmegaard’s historic timeline
A burning passion for glass art
Holmegaard is as relevant today as it was in its early days – created with an eye for both function and decor and a burning passion for our heritage and craftsmanship.
Holmegaard is a reflection in glass
Holmegaard is a world of glass, where original designs and excellent craftsmanship are at the heart of all the classics we know and admire. When we create beautiful and elegant glass products that radiate quality and style, we are building on 200 years of proud, hand-blown craftsmanship traditions. Glass designs that inspire reflection.
In the many beautiful glass designs we produce, we always try to push the boundaries of what is possible with glass. Glass has a unique ability to capture and reflect light. Holmegaard’s unique glass designs both play with the light and create optical effects that often reflect the thoughts our designers had when devising their designs.
This is evident in designs such as the Provence bowl, where the light shape, thick base and round edges spread light and colour throughout the bubble. For example, the Provence bowl is available in a pink base colour with small glass confetti in white and mint that melts in the glass mass and spreads randomly around the bowl. This makes each mouth-blown bowl unique, with the amount confetti and it's distribution pattern varying from bowl to bowl.
A rich history of the best designers
Holmegaard stands for modern glass designs made to be used and enjoyed every day. To achieve this goal, we work with some of the best glass designers who experiment with technology, shape and materials. The result is unique designs that will last far into the future. Designs that are not only beautiful to look at, but which are also made for everyday use.
Here you can read about some of the most important designers in Holmegaard’s history.
Meet the designers
Jacob E. Bang – The first Holmegaard designer
That is why Bang is today known as Denmark’s first industrial designer and the creator of functionalism in Danish glass. His design mantra was “beautiful, strong, practical and inexpensive,” and it was these words that helped to underpin Holmegaard’s vision. “Every Dane should have a Holmegaard glass.”
During his time at the glassworks, he designed several products that have now become collector’s items, including the Violet series and the Primrose series, which are designed with a beautiful optical pattern that creates a unique play in the glass.
Per Lütken – the undisputed master of Danish glass design
Per Lütken was an inspiring character at Holmegaard, and he was known for his perfectionism and the high demands he placed on his glassblowers. He believed that glass should radiate craftsmanship, and his best-known designs include the Provence bowl (1955), Idéelle (1978) and Charlotte Amalie (1981).
Grethe Meyer & Ibi Trier Mørch – The design duo behind Meyer & Mørch
The duo created the multi-functional Stub glass, which since its launch in 1958 has become a modern classic for the breakfast, dining, kitchen and bar table. Produced for more than three decades, the low-stemmed, cylindrical and stackable design became a symbol of urban living that is still unique – and has retained its design appeal to present day. The iconic glass has since been relaunched in a casual series of three designs, which, like the original glass, has been created for all generations and all purposes and can still be stacked without having to compromise on design.
Cecilie Manz – A great Danish design talent
Her collaboration with Holmegaard has been ongoing since 2004. The Cecilie Manz Minima collection won the Danish Design Award 2008/2009 for combining Scandinavian modernity with functionality.
Maria Berntsen – Internationally renowned designer
Maria Berntsen is the woman behind Holmegaard’s One lamp and the successful Design with Light series, which includes a number of lanterns with distinctive leather handles. Maria Berntsen has also updated the classic chamber candlesticks with a Design with Light version for the modern home.
Tom Nybroe – Graphic designer and wine enthusiast
Laura Bilde & Linnea Blæhr – the design duo behind Seche Studio
Peter Svarrer – Master of light
Michael Bang (1942–2013) - Advanced glass art
Michael Bang designed the first Palet products for Kastrup-Holmegaard Glasværker in 1969, and they were launched that autumn. The palette series represents one of Holmegaard’s most popular and successful designs over the years and, with its strong colours, became the glass answer to the pop culture of the time. The series’ parts are made of mouth-blown glass in the original colours that were typical of the 1970s.
The Hans Fontaine wine glass series from 1987 with the bubble in the glass’ bowl is an example of some of Holmegaard’s most advanced craftsmanship and a current series of exclusive wine glasses.
Jette Frölich – Unique paper cuttings on glass
Ann-Sofi Romme – Christmas decorations
Kristine Meyer and Sabine Lavigne – Design duo Meyer-Lavigne
Anja Kjær – Unique glass designs for 25 years
For Holmegaard, Anja Kjær created the unique glass series Regina. The series was made for the Danish royal couple’s silver wedding in 1992, and the glasses were produced by Holmegaard as a gift from the Copenhagen City Council. Anja Kjær found inspiration for the series in old Venetian glassware and production methods. It takes great technical skill to blow out the magnificent and exclusive glass, which has now been launched by Holmegaard under the name Regina.
Claus Dalby – The floral artist
Old English is inspired by the English tradition of gardening, highlighted by beautiful bouquets and petals floating in the water. The basic design behind the series is a classic, cup-shaped vase inspired by Claus Dalby’s own floral designs. The soft lines and curves of the vase are also recognisable in the Old English series' flower bowls, which are perfect for floating petals, growing onions and floral blends in.
Arne Jacobsen (1902–1971) - Functional design
The Royal series consists of glasses for serving red wine, white wine, dessert wine, champagne, cocktails, beer, shots and water, making it the perfect design statement for spring lunch tables and cocktail hour in a Mad Men style all year round.
Maria Kariis – Inspired by the luxurious shape of tulips
Torben Jørgensen – Glass Artist
Our special characteristics
Holmegaard has been working with glass since its foundation. Our products are original designs that exude quality and style for everyday use, festive and special occasions. Each piece of mouth-blown glass is unique and handmade by the glassblower, who carefully blows the right amount of air through the narrow pipe. Air bubbles in the glass are therefore inevitable and are part of the charm of mouth-blown glass. Many of Holmegaard’s glasses have gained a very special iconic status in Denmark. Many people will recognise the Provence bowl or the famous Skibsglass glass series – and to this day we still produce both of these.
Holmegaard builds its creations on a deep passion for glass craftsmanship. It is what drives us in our daily work, where we challenge both methods and designs – and we never compromise. Holmegaard produces both mouth-blown and machine-blown glass using the latest and most advanced production methods. Today, we still find inspiration for new glasses by looking back at our rich glass history. In doing this, we manage to retain a consistent look and theme in all the designs we produce. Excellent craftsmanship and quality have been a priority from the very beginning. And it is also this elegant, Danish glass craftsmanship and the hand-blown craftsmanship traditions that have made it possible for us to export glass to many countries around the world.
A world of glass
Holmegaard creates a world of glass. A world where original designs and excellent craftsmanship are the foundation of all the classics we know and admire. With our passion for glass and the many possibilities it offers, we create beautiful, elegant and unique glass designs for both flowers and the table. Designs that exude both quality and style – such as the classic mouth-blown glass from Holmegaard, which bears the Nordic Ecolabel. No matter how they are produced, our designs always encourage reflection. It’s the different worlds of glass that we strive for every day.
Based on Holmegaard’s experience, we have built a proud tradition of excellent craftsmanship and stylish Danish design. The tradition-rich history is our foundation, and we continue to build on it today by creating Danish design classics that combine Scandinavian modernism with functionality. It is not without reason that we have been a Purveyor to the Royal Danish Court since 1825. Because it's in the meeting between modern and functional Nordic design and proud Danish design traditions that you'll find what makes Holmegaard unique.
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We preserve and develop Danish design icons so that both present and future products can be part of the brands that have helped create our Danish design culture.