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Friday, August 3, 2012

A Saucepan for My Wife

A few days ago, I posted about the reissue of Dansk Kobenstyle cookware, designed by Jens Quistgaard in 1956. Stig Guldberg made a documentary film about Quistgaard and his craft that is next on a list of things to buy for myself, as I am a devoted Quistgaard admirer. I learned about this film when I ran across the two-minute clip from it on YouTube, shown below.

A reviewer of the film said:

He just wanted to make a saucepan for his wife. That's how it all began.

But soon his design attracted attention from around the world and began a long career--most notably as chief designer of Dansk Designs. The designer Jens Quistgaard is not easy to pigeonhole. He covers a wide field, both as a human being and as an artist. He is an individualist who goes his own way, avoiding publicity; which explains why he became world famous while remaining unknown in his own country, Denmark.

The film was shot over a period of three years, ending just a few months before Quistgaard died in 2008 at the age of 89. He is shown in his home, talking about his life, his work and his motivation as a designer. It also shows him at his workbench and at his exhibitions.

The film runs 36 minutes, but there are eight bonus clips totalling 28 more minutes in which Quistgaard talks about specific designs from his collections. The film comes with a full-color 56-page booklet in Danish and English which contains dozens of photographs and illustrations. The set costs around $40.

All still images from

Guldberg documentary
Jens Quistgaard at work

Organized, probably. Neat, not so much.

An assortment of Quistgaard's designs
Uploaded by jensquistgaard on Nov 25, 2009


  1. I wish my husband wanted a saucepan for his wife.

    On a happier note, I have a few Quistgaard things. They bring me much joy, especially my coffee cups and saucers. There's a bit of enamelware and a wooden salad bowl which I've never used.

    I wonder if designers like Quistgaard realise how much happiness they have brought to people who use their designs in everyday life? Sometimes I think I'm shallow only wanting beautiful things to use ... but I just can't help myself when geniuses like Quistgaard have such a talent in making such attractive and functional items.

  2. Dana,
    You ALWAYS write the most interesting posts! And I found the large yellow pot like the one in the middle of the pic at a Thrift store in Haltom City this past spring! It is huge. I was so excited! It is the only piece I have and does have some chips around the edge but it's old, right?

  3. Thanks for recommending the film, seems to be a good watch. Love the title!

  4. How neat - a thoughtful gift for his wife inspired this man to become one of our most iconic designers. I have got to see this. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Adding it to my amazon wishlist right now...

    1. Just watching the clip has given me insight into Quistgaard's personality...not to mention the correct pronunciation of his name! :)

  5. I just watched this DVD and was thrilled to find it. I was Creative Director at Dansk Designs from the early 80s thru the sale of the company to Lenox in the 90's. I was fortunate enough to work very closely with Jens over the years and become friends.
    He was truly a renaissance man his genius and expertise spanned many disciplines and materials. Watching this film reminded me of so may conversations we had in the past. HIs work will live on!

    1. I really enjoyed that video too. I'd love to know more about your work at Dansk and your friendship with Mr. Quistgaard. If you would care to jot down a few anecdotes and email them to me, I think they would make an interesting post.