CARNABY series, Per Lütken (Holmegaard, 1953)


The Carnaby series has become an icon of the design of the 1960s due to its bold shapes and the bright opaque colours in cased glass (red, coral -orange-, yellow, white and light blue)…  they all tell us about a simplicity that’s unique from that time.

It was designed by Per Lütken in 1968 and became a huge success. The greatest proof of that is that is that it was copied by a myriad of factories, so nowadays there is  a lot of confussion amongst non-experts about which piece is a Carnaby and which one isn’t. In general it’s said there are 16 shapes plus several rare ones (in both shape, colour and size). Also some designs from other series by Lütken (Safir or Majgron) or Jacob Bang (Capri) were also made in the Carnaby technique, and several prototypes by Lütken with more geometric shapes are kept at the Naestved Museum.

As for the colour rarities, in 1968 transparent ruby red glass was used, but dissaperared from 1969. From 1969 till 1976, year in which this series was discontinued, some yellow glasses do not have an opal layer on the inside, but another yellow layer; and in some cases the colour layer is on the inside of the vase, whereas the opal one was outside. Red and opal vases were not made until 1969.

This series, as well as the famous Gulvases by Otto Breuer made in Opal plus another colour, was made at Fyens Glassworks, already under Holmegaard’s management.

Amongst the normal shapes, there are three that were not designed by Lütken but Christer Holmgren. Well, in fact it is one design in three different sizes, and it is the narrow design with a conic base, a ball in the middle and a flat top, and the three sizes are 21 cm., 26 cm. and 31 cm.

H: 10,5 cm.

H: 13,5 cm.

H: 13,5 cm.

H: 15,5 cm.

H: 22,6 cm.

H: 23,5 cm.

H: 30,4 cm.

H: 13,3 cm.

H: 19,7 cm.

H: 16 cm.

H: 20,7 cm.


Per Lütken (1916-1998)


Per Lütken is considered one of the two best best Danish glass designers ever, being Jacob Bang the other one, and probably no other has been so important to Danish glass in the 20th century. It was precisely after Jacob Bang left Holmegaard that Lütken was given the position of creative director at the big Danish glassworks, for which he’s said to have designed more than 3000 pieces. He worked there from 1942 and until his death in 1998. Maybe one of the most important things we can say about Per Lütken is the magnitude of his love for glass.

If Holmegaard glassworks started to have international recognition in the late 1920 due to the work as creativedirector of an architect (Jacob Bang), it was a painter, Lütken, who took the company to its highest point both in terms of design and as a business. Lütken, who was trained as a painter at the Skolen for Dansk Kunsthåndværk in Copenhagen, where he graduated in 1937, lacked all experience in glassmaking when started working for the company in 1942, although he was a skilled designer.

His duty was creating both table glass (he designed a myriad of ranges, amongst the best known ones are Butler, Ideelle, Skibsglas, No.5, High Life, Baloon and Charlotte Amalie) and art glass (and here there is an endless list of glass ranges, although I’d name Violet trefløjet, Duckling/Næbvase, Selandia or Fionia, Flamingo, Grønland, Carnaby, Cascade, Lava, Vintergæk or Det levende glas).

Amazingly, Lütken kept track of all the special designs he made for exhibitions, as well as unique specimens (the so-called unika items). He did in what he called “Min sorte bog” (My black book), which is a complete list of those works dating back from October 1942, with items created for an exhibition in Stockholm, to those that were displayed at the Nygode 4 gallery in January 1985 (when he was aged 69), although Lütken continued designing for Holmegaard until 1995, at age 79. So it seems he either stoped keeping track of these special designs or he stoped making them altogether.

WINSTON range, 1956

CANADA range, 1955

BUTLER range, 1973

HARMONY range, 1977/1984

GRØNLAND range, 1960

CARNABY vases, 1968

CASCADE vases and tumblers, 1970

LAVA vases, 1970

TONA series, Bengt Orup (Johanfors, 1957)


This series was designed by Bengt orup in 1957 for Johansfors. The name TONA means “fade”, and that’s the best thing about this series: the fading colours.

The series consists of an uncertain number of dishes, bowls and vases.

The TONA range was made in two different shades of green. This one I show here is the one most widely seen, the other one is a shade of olive/moss grayish green, from ehich i have only seen two.

15,3 x 14 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

15,3 x 10,6 cm. Signed: Johansfors Orup

10,3 x 11,7 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

14,6 x 16,5 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

21,5 x 5,5 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

29,3 x 7 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

37,5 x 9,5 cm. Signed: J-fors Orup

31 cm (diameter). Signed: J-fors Orup

21 x 12 cm. Unsigned.

Bengt Orup photographed with several TONA items.
Image taken from the Bengt Orup official website


PAJAZZO series, Nanny Still (Riihimäki Lasi Oy, 1970)


The PAJAZZO range (ref. 1301) was designed by NS in 1970. they were made in three colour combinations (yellow/red, yellow/green and yellow/blue) and three sizes (this wide one with 4 balls, standing 15 cm. tall, the one stading 26 cm. tall with 8 balls -4 at the top, 4 at the bottom- and another one standing just 21 cm. tall, also with 8 balls, all of them at the bottom of the vase… my dream would be getting this one in blue). I know there’s people who tries to collect the 9 possible combinations. Lucky those who can get them! The blue one is prety rare.

When I first saw this one I fell in love with it even if it didn’t fit at all with the glass line I was collecting at the time (simple and organic shapes, massive glass…) I guess that what’s great about these vases is this air of crazyness they have about them… there’s a mix of colours, an amazing texture and a funny shape with… titties? they’re not the KARTIO like stuff or the simplicity of Per Lütken’s organic shapes, they’re not utilitarian design like jugs or candleholders…. they are vases -and prety ornated ones… But they happen to be happy things and, if you let me be a little bit corny, sort of a “celebration of design”. Plus, they are fantastic stuff to hold in your hands, and that’s something not to be missed!

The word PAJAZZO means nothing in Finnish (not that I know) but it can be a phonetic trancripcion into Finnish of the Italian word PAGLIACCIO, clown. Also it reminds a lot like the same word in Spanish PAYASO, so with all those colours and textures i think she intended to make a clown… so maybe the balls on their walls might be the big nose and huge shoes of a clown. Some see in these vases the shapes of women but, as pointed out by vetraio50 from CW, they are clown noses, and according to La Commedia dell Arte, noses are variations of the theme of a “head with a member”…  so after all, they would be male genitalia.

26,2 x 13 cm. Signed: RIIHIMÄKI LASI. NANNY STILL.

15 x 17,2 cm. Signed: RIIHIMÄKI LASI. NANNY STILL.

PORRO wine pitcher, Bengt Orup (Johanfors, 1952)


Bengt Orup designed this pitcher in 1952, the very same year he started working for Johansfors.

The design isn’t in fact as original as one might think, as it is clearly inspired by the traditional Spanish “porrón” (see picture below), which is used to pour the wine (usually red wine) straight into the drinker’s mouth, but he changed the traditional shape into one that seems to be absolutely accurate to its function while adopting a very modern and geometric look.  There is no doubt Orup knew about the porrón during a journey in Spain, (and I’d even dare to say in Catalonia, where it is called “porró”).


To drink from a porrón, a beginner starts by bringing the spout very close to his mouth and tilts it forward slowly so the beak points towards the teeth. Once the liquid starts coming out, the porró is pulled away from the face while the drinker looks up. To finish drinking, a beginner lowers the porrón and brings it back down and closer to the mouth again before stopping, quickly tilting the spout up at the last moment so there is no spillage. A regular user can start and stop drinking from the porrón with the spout held at a distance without spilling a drop.

STAR set of decanter and glasses, Tamara Aladin (Riihimáki lasi, 1963)


This decanter belongs to the STAR series that Tamara Aladin designed in 1963. It is very special with its red ball stopper and also because of the tiny bubbles texture, but this was just the cause why this series was produced for a very short period of time: mixing glass and soda to create bubbles proved difficult to produce, as the bubbles made by the soda in the glass varied too much in size and the different pieces wouldn’t be of even quality. Thus, blowing all the different pieces and then having to chose the good ones and destroy those that wouldn’t fullfill the quality standards proved too expensive for production.

The STAR series consists of two decaters (1702 and 1703), three jugs (1110, 1111 and 1112)), one jar (1284) with two different lids (1284 and 1285), three plates (1282 and 1286), four bowls (1283) and drinking glasses (1014). They were produced between 1963 and 1965.

ref. 1703. 28 x 7 cm.

ref. 1014. 6,4 x 5,2 cm.

HJERTEVASER, Sidse Werner (Holmegaard, 1971)


I absolutely love this vase! I first saw it in the Taschen 70′s Decorative Arts book (and wished I had one at once) and years later I found it in a Swedish shop.

It was designed by Sidse Werner in 1971 -according to the label, mine’s made in 1972- and it was her first design for Homegaard. It was made in three sizes (22, 16 and 11 cm. – this is the 22 cm. tall) and four colours: yellow, brown, white and clear. It clearly follows the style of the SAVOY vase by Alvar Aalto, but it really has the unique looks of the 1970s.

ref.53 03 20. 22 x 16,5 cm. Signed: HOLMEGAARD SW. With label HG 12.