Orrefors Furniture

Orrefors (Sweden)

The Swedish design philosophy of “beautiful things for everyday life” is actualized in the glassware of Orrefors. Founded in 1898, this glass manufacturer was one of the leading companies in the Scandinavian Modernism movement and is revered by collectors for the fine craftsmanship and innovation of its superlative art glass.


     Orrefors began making art glass — works that, distinct from mass-production pieces, are made in small numbers to showcase the skills and talents of artists and artisans — in 1913. Two of the first artists hired by the firm were Simon Gate and Edward Hald, who worked initially in the organic Art Nouveau style, and later proved adept with the geometric imagery of the Art Deco period. Hald and Gate worked closely with glassblowers to refine traditional glassmaking methods, creating new materials such as "graal" glass. In the graal technique a design made with colored glass is encased in layers of transparent glass, preserving the image while the overall glass form is worked and shaped. Orrefors won an international following when it presented such pieces in Paris in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes — the design fair whose name gave rise to the term Art Deco.


     In the years following that success, Orrefors attracted more dynamic and experimental artists such as Vicke Lindstrand and Edvin Ohrström, who joined the company in the 1930’s. Lindstrand and Ohstrom worked with glassblowers to create the "ariel" glass technique, an innovation that produces deeper, richer imagery that seems to morph and flow as light is refracted by the glass.


     As you will see from the items offered on these pages, there is a special aesthetic quality to Orrefors glass. Whether a vase or a set of wine goblets, the work of this premier Swedish company represents the apex of functional artistry.

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