If ever there were a scenario whereby we were only allowed to live with the portfolio of one designer in our home, Jacob Jensen would be our choice, hands down. And strolling through the halls of the Skive New Museum of Art in Denmark one gets an impression of what it might be like as the museum is playing host to a retrospective of two generations of Jacob Jensen Design.
Pioneer of Danish functionalism Jacob Jensen, latterly in collaboration with his son Timothy, has produced some of our favourite items of industrial design. A retrospective exhibition of their most seminal creations marks a convergence of important dates for the family and company: last year Jacob turned 80; Jacob Jensen Design celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2008; and it will be 30 years since Timothy Jacob Jensen joined his father. The venue of Skive’s Musuem of Art is likewise significant given the Jacob Jensen Design studio is just outside Skive, in the village of Hejlskov.
The exhibition is called GENERATIONS, in homage to the two generations of Jensen that have created and established the world-renowned brand and, as design exhibitions go, it raises the mark in terms of scope and presentation across the three room span. What is astonishing is to see the sheer breadth of products the pair has designed over the six decades and how, when viewed together, they’ve honed their still unique style, applying a very recognisable, modernist stamp to everything from a bowl to a kitchen unit, from a mobile phone to an outdoor sculpture.
The Chronological Room: The Jacob Jensen Home shows over 500 products designed from the 1950s to the present day, arranged in such a way as to give the impression of walking through a home completely kitted out in Jensen design. The Location Room: The 11 Stars of Skive, shows a selection of images of 11 large sculptures mounted in Skive’s 11 traffic roundabouts designed in 2006. The works show a more conceptual side to the designers’ ethos, each telling their own ‘story’, connected by the designers’ drive to depict reality in new ways.
The final room is our favourite, The Creative Room, which charts the design processes of selected products from sketches, drawings, models and prototypes to finished products from the Jacob Jensen Design portfolio.