Friday, March 4, 2011

Danish 1950s wooden toys : Kay Bojesen's teak and limbawood zoo

These wooden animals seem to be alive : their designer's premise, Kay Bojesen (1886-1858),  in his work was a conviction  that his objects should have life, blood and a heart. People should want to pick them up, and they should radiate humanity, warmth and vibrancy. The monkey was produced in accordance with Bojesen’s motto that lines should smile. In the early 1950s, it was so popular that it was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. 
These lovely animals, for kids and adults, are among the most popular Danish toys : on Danish television they had permanent place as mascots in wildlife programs and as prices in quiz shows. 

They are still in production : in 1990, Rosendahl ( bought the rights to the production, marketing and sale of Kay Bojesen’s products, including his guardsmen, wooden animals and award-winning Grand Prix cutlery.

Which one would you prefer among this choice ?

the walnut dog?

the elephant ?

or the stars, designed in 1951 : the two so beautifully smiling apes ?

Kay Bojesen (1886–1958), a silversmith, became known as one of the Danish applied art's great pioneers thanks to his wooden toys he began to think about in the 1920s. At the beginning he was an apprentice of Georg Jensen, training as a silversmith in 1910. After a few years in Germany and France, he began working as a silversmith in Copenhagen.  In the 1930s he developed a more simple, functionalistic style. His silver cutlery set from 1938 won in a stainless version first prize at the Milano Triennial in 1951 and was named "Grand Prix"’. Bojesen is especially known for his design of toys in wood, for instance his guardsman from 1942 and he created a line of craftily devised animals of which several had movable arms and legs. In fact, in the 1930s he realised there was something particularly lively about wood : too curious to restrict himself to the work of refining metals, he began experimenting with other materials. In the course of his exploration, he discovered wood as a material with very special possibilities for industrial treatment and styling. This discovery led to the classic guardsmen and a whole zoological garden taking shape between his hands.  The best known is the Monkey from 1951, but also the elephant and the parrot from the 1950s are known by several generations.  Kay Bojesen also designed furniture for children, jewellery and objects for the home.

1 comment:

  1. Wooden train set
    wooden toys was one of our favorites as kids too and my sons loved the one narrated.i really impressed with your blog.