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Dansk Designs

American

Ironically, Dansk Designs, the tableware company practically synonymous with Danish design (“Dansk,” in fact, translates to “Danish”), was the brainchild of an American couple, Ted and Martha Nierenberg. 

The Nierenbergs, who founded the business in 1954, initially worked out of the garage of their Great Neck, Long Island, home and marketed their serveware, tables, decorative objects and other products largely in the United States. But they had a secret weapon: Jens Quistgaard.

After demonstrating artistic talent at a young age, the Copenhagen native was gifted a forge and anvil so that he could work in his mother’s kitchen. Quistgaard built toys, jewelry and hunting knives under his father’s tutelage. Later, he spent years learning from local artisans how to produce wood, metal, ceramic and glass models. Quistgaard’s career path solidified during his apprenticeship as a silversmith with legendary Danish silver firm Georg Jensen.

The Nierenbergs discovered the sculptor and designer on their honeymoon, which they’d spent traveling through Europe searching for top-quality goods that might form the basis of a business. 

After they hired Quistgaard and launched Dansk, their products swiftly came to epitomize the best of accessible Scandinavian design for mid-century American consumers, who fell for the firm’s staved-teak salad bowls, colorful casseroles and stainless-steel flatware, all of which managed to look handmade despite being mass-produced.  

The long-distance relationship flourished for 30 years, during which millions of Quistgaard pieces were manufactured in the company's factories.

The designs for Quistgaard’s Købenstyle line and other collections during the mid-1950s were revolutionary, with bowls built like barrels and charming, lightweight monochrome tableware in enameled steel. Quistgaard’s work married function with striking, sophisticated form. He utilized exceptional materials in the creation of his coveted cookware, barware and serving pieces, opting for warm teak and exotic woods and reintroducing steel as a go-to option for kitchen wares.

Quistgaard’s postwar-era Scandinavian modernist work is still exceedingly popular in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens in the United States, Europe and Japan, particularly in the homes of mid-century design enthusiasts. 

Find vintage Dansk Designs furniture and decorative objects on 1stDibs.

Set of Four Plated Animal Paperweights by Gunnar Cyren for Dansk
By Dansk, Gunnar Cyren
Located in San Diego, CA
A nice set of four plated animal paperweights by Gunnar Cyren for Dansk, circa 1970s. The set include an elephant, giraffe, hippo and gazelle. They ...
Category

Late 20th Century Japanese Scandinavian Modern Dansk Designs

Materials

Zinc

Dansk "Artisan" Flatware Set, Service for 8/ 44 pieces
By Dansk
Located in Philadelphia, PA
1970's Dansk Design Flatware Set. Service for 8, 44 pieces! "Artisan" for Dansk, made in Japan. Nice solid weight Set, feels good in your hand! Nice large set! Set includes 2 La...
Category

1970s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Vintage Dansk Designs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Solid Brass Candle Holders by Jens H. Quistgaard for Dansk Designs 1963
By Jens Quistgaard, Dansk
Located in Utrecht, NL
Beautiful set of timeless vintage solid brass candlesticks by Danish designer, sculptor Jens Harald Quistgaard (1919-2008) for Dansk Design, 1963. Very nice heavy quality. Candle h...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Dansk Designs

Materials

Brass

Rare Pepper Mill by Jens H. Quistgaard for Dansk
By Jens Quistgaard, Dansk
Located in San Diego, CA
Early teak and cane/bamboo pepper mill by Jens Quistgaard. Metal grinding mechanisms produced by Peugeot Freres. The mill was produced by Dansk in Denmark. Marked DANMARK.
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Dansk Designs

Materials

Cane, Teak

Pair of Silver Plate Coil Snake Candle Holders by Bertil Vallien for Dansk
By Dansk, Bertil Vallien
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Original Vintage Condition
Category

1970s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Dansk Designs

Materials

Silver Plate

Rare Copper Pan and Stand by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk
By Jens Quistgaard, Dansk
Located in San Diego, CA
A rare copper cooking pot by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk. Complete with rare ceramic inner pot, removable teak handle and teak stand. Signed on the ceramic and stand. Made in Denmark, ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Dansk Designs

Materials

Copper

Vintage Dansk Iron Candelabra by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk
By Dansk, Jens Quistgaard
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Vintage cast iron candleabra. made in Denmark. Designed by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk. the sprial pattern can be adjusted.
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Dansk Designs

Materials

Iron

Pair of MCM Teak Salt and Pepper Shakers by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk
By Dansk, Jens Quistgaard
Located in San Diego, CA
Pair of MCM teak salt and pepper shakers by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk, circa 1970s. The set are in very good vintage condition and measure as follows: Salt 2.5" x 4.75" ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Dansk Designs

Materials

Teak

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Dansk Designs furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Dansk Designs furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Dansk Designs furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Dansk Designs were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Lundtofte, Holmegaard, and Bing & Grøndahl. Prices for Dansk Designs furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $39 and can go as high as $20,800, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $350.

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