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

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.

FLAMINGO series, Per Lütken (Holmegaard, 1953)


Looking at Lütken’s work one realizes this was the first series made using the sommerso technique, which appears in no more than ten of his designs, using in them very few colours: purple, blue, green, white or gray glass.

What’s really special from this series (and the BISON series) is the the visual effect created by refraction that makes you think there’s black glass inside, but there’s just green and clear glass in this design.

It is also one of the first “sculptorial” designs he ever created.

The series consists of four items: two orquid vases, simmilar in shape but of a different size (ref. 16028 for the one standing around 14 cm. tall and ref. 16029 for the one around 24 cm. tall), a third orquid vase with no base (ref. 16394, around 34 cm long), and an ashtray (ref. 16590). In 1956 a version of the bowl was made using white and clear glass.

ref. 16029. 23 cm. Signed: HOLMEGAARD 19PL58

ref. 16028. 15,5cm. Signed: HOLMEGAARD 19PL59

ref. 16590. 11,5 x 14 x 10 cm. Unsigned.

9 x 20 x 10,6 cm. Unsigned.