THE GEORG JENSEN APPEAL : From Copenhagen to San Francisco and the World
Feel free to pronounce this Danish silversmithy’s name as “George Jensen,” American style. Gump’s does, too, since Jensen’s extraordinarily pleasing forms and high-quality fabrication are the point. Pronunciation won’t get in the way.
While we relish the Danish pronunciation as well, we’ve been home to Jensen’s notable designs for some time. Gump’s celebrates Jensen’s ability to harmonize with contemporary lifestyles, whether fashioned from precious silver or no-nonsense materials like stainless steel.
Take the company’s move to stainless steel. It’s only enhanced Jensen’s appeal while making good design within reach for many more Gump’s clients.
Savor this mirror-polished stainless steel Bowl, originally in sterling silver from designer Sigvard Bernadotte’s original 1930s concept. It’s not every firm that enjoyed such a distinctive and rewarding relationship with a Swedish prince who developed into an influential modernist designer, born Sigvard Oscar Fredrik Bernadotte, Prince Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, grandson of Queen Victoria.
More to the point, the Bowl is classic Scandinavian design at its most timeless.
2017 saw the introduction of the Cobra collection, exemplified by the sinuous curves and gleaming surfaces of these candlesticks, created for Georg Jensen by award-winning designer Constantin Wortmann. Crafted of stainless steel with a mirror-polish finish.
Meet the designer: Constantin Wortmann
Wortmann studied design in Munich, followed by an internship and several freelance design projects for Ingo Maurer. In 1998 he co-founded the design studio Büro für Form with Benjamin Hopf. Numerous international awards and exhibitions confirm the success of the studio which focuses on interior design, industrial design, furniture design and lighting design.
Inspired by the shape of Japanese cherry blossoms in full bloom, this stunning bowl designed by Helle Damkjær is made of stainless steel with an 18-karat gold plated finish.
Meet the designer: Helle Damkjær
Helle Damkjær has for a number of years created designs for Georg Jensen. The beauty of form that characterizes her work places her firmly within the classic tradition of Danish design with a twist. Helle has a unique feel for functional beauty and simple details while her designs convey an inner harmony. The winner of many design prizes, her Bloom Bowl can be seen in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Helle Damkjær is based in the South of France from where she works internationally.
Was it serendipity or mere coincidence that allowed San Francisco to play a big role in Georg Jensen’s international success? Jensen recognizes its fame grew from early success in the United States, specifically here in San Francisco when Jensen brought his Danish silver to the 1915 World’s Fair, called the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition. Jensen walked away with both a gold medal for original design, and the Grand Prize for silver jewelry. Georg Jensen was naturally encouraged to invest in a larger marketplace than Denmark or Northern Europe.
A. Livingston Gump, “Mr. Gump of Gump’s,” (as he was often called) and his merchants would have noticed this breath of silvery Nordic inspiration. There are competing legends of what happened next: that Gump’s bought many of Georg Jensen’s pieces, including the jewelry. There is also a rumor that William Randolph Hearst – he of the Hearst newspaper chain - purchased the majority of the Georg Jensen works brought from Denmark. Sadly, sources to confirm either legend are thin on the ground.
What is true is that A.L. invested heavily in goods from around the world that were, in a way, an adjunct to the galleries of the Exposition. Also true was Gump’s continuing appreciation of the Georg Jensen collections, represented by Jensen’s decision to advance the company’s “air of luxury” by working with select stores like Gump’s, Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and Chicago’s Marshall Field in the 1950s.
Today, Georg Jensen is still a Gump's tradition, one that we’re happy to share with everyone for the sheer appeal of how the use and appreciation of good design will enhance any environment and elevate your entertaining.