Take a peek into the philosophies and collaborations that triggered the popularity of Dansk Designs, the company that brought Danish tabletop design to the United States with sculptural, colorful tableware and cookware. This talk zooms in on the history of the company with stories of the influential people and the company’s intersection with pop cultural figures like Lou Dorfsman and Andy Warhol, who participated in bringing the objects and the brand to life.
Founded by entrepreneurs Martha and Ted Nierenberg, along with Danish artist-designer Jens Quistgaard, this American company has been making and marketing memorable lines of flatware, cookware, and tableware since 1954. Dansk is a historical case study of a company that went quickly from entrepreneurial venture to corporation, focusing on well-made tabletop goods and clever marketing strategies. It is also a story about how a midcentury-modern couple, interested in the transitional nature of suburban living and with a vision of what the modern home could be, sold new styles of Scandinavian goods to a stylish new American middle class.
Desirable and now retro-chic, vintage Dansk products can be found in antique shops, auction houses, and flea markets, or passed down to a new generation from mothers and grandmothers. These pieces are equally valuable and meaningful as they were when they were brand-new—perhaps even more so. After more than a year of research and interviews spanning from Westchester County to Copenhagen, Denmark, Sarah’s work has produced the first full collection of Dansk’s founding stories.
The School of Visual Arts MFA Design Criticism Department presented “Crossing the Line: The 2010 D-Crit Conference" organized by graduating D-Crit students at the SVA Theatre in New York City on Friday, April 30 2010.