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Vet Hut glassworks

JANUARY 19, 2012
The birth of every object is to be found in its heart. Coffee cups remember the clay of which they are made. Furniture remembers the wood it was sawn from. Clothes recall the hands that sewed them. But, nowadays, most of the things we use are made by machines far beyond our own horizons. Mass-produced goods tend to be anonymous and interchangeable.

Accordingly, at Design House Stockholm we run our own manual glassworks, Vet Hut. Here, at Boda in the forests of southern Sweden, we can get close to the soul of the objects that we make by hand. The glassmakers breathe life into the molten glass, rapidly shaping it as it cools from 1000°C. There is no other way. Each item is an individual which bears with it its own narrative in air bubbles, birth marks and shifting colour nuances.

Vet Hut is Design House Stockholm's new heart. The name of this hot-glass studio comes from a creative and humorous rebellion against the stiff, conventional glass culture of the 1960s. Vet Hut is intended to give Design House Stockholm's own designers the opportunity to work in a similarly free fashion. Here they can experiment, try out ideas, produce collections of glass and create unique art glass. The workshop houses a melting furnace and two glassmakers under the direction of master glassmaker Christopher Ramsey, making Vet Hut flexible and allowing for brief production times. An idea on a Tuesday can be become a finished article on Thursday. Our marketing tentacles stretch all over the world. Everything is possible and the new hot-glass operation represents a grand adventure.

Vet Hut project no. 1: Folded Rim

Operations at Vet Hut are project based. The first project was called Folded Rim. This exploits a technique which goes back for centuries and which involves folding the rim down on itself to provide a strong, impact-resistance edge to the piece. But the folded rim can also be used decoratively. For the glassmakers, the well-made folded rim is a mark of their expertise and an opportunity to display their skills. Parts of the Folded Rim collection have been designed by three world-famous designers.

Each item in the Folded Rim collection reveals its origins: the designer's name is engraved in the glass which is marked with a Vet Hut symbol, the signature of the master glassmaker and the date when it was made.

Signe Persson-Melin

Signe Persson-Melin is the grand old lady of Swedish design and ceramics. She started working with clay in the south of Sweden in the 1940s and this experience taught her the rudiments of good design: honesty, sensible use of materials, and no unnecessary details.

Signe started up her studio in Malmö in 1949. Her breakthrough came at the H55 international exhibition in Helsingborg where she showed herb canisters, teapots and other kitchenware. In 1967 she became a designer for the Boda glassworks. She transferred her remarkable feeling for ceramics to glass, producing some of the finest household wares of the 1970s. Though not all her ideas were put into production. A vase with hot-worked rims and a bowl were considered too difficult and too expensive to put into production and the prototypes ended up on the shelf. Signe has since used these items herself. Now it is time for the rest of us to enjoy her powerful and stylish glass.

A treasure reborn.

Erik Höglund

Erik Höglund (1932-1998), was the "bad boy" of Swedish glass. He was taken on at the Boda glassworks as an unknown quantity at the age of 21 straight from art school. Höglund and Boda proved to be an explosive combination.

Erik Höglund's restless energy shook up the sleepy factory. He experimented with throwing soda and potato peel into the furnace, and he plunged hot glass into a bucket of sawdust in order to achieve a warmer and more human expression to his work. Air bubbles in glassware were a mortal sin among skilled glassmakers but bubbles, seals, stamps and strong colours were Erik Höglund's signature. He became a sort of folk artist of Swedish glass, widely exhibited abroad and constantly involved in new experiments and materials. Erik Höglund left Boda after twenty years but returned to glass with some highly colourful designs in the 1980s.

The products designed by Erik Höglund that we are now making available once again are typical of his work. The vase was created as a fiftieth anniversary present for his friend Tage Danielsson who was a celebrated Swedish comedian and author.

Timo Sarpaneva

Timo Sarpaneva (1926-2006) was a leading exponent of Finnish design. He was both an artist and an industrial designer but it is his art glass that has made him a legend in the world of Finnish design. Sarpaneva was part of the creative wave that raised Finland from the devastation of World War II to become a major power in the design sector.

It was his closeness to nature that fuelled his exotic design language: melting snow, ice and the polar air of mountain streams. Sarpaneva maintained that it was in his glass designs that he achieved his "fourth dimension" – a profundity that reached beyond both form and function. Sarpaneva was in tune with his own time and he developed the slender designs that were popular in the 1950s into the bubble-filled pop-glass pieces and more rustic glassware of the 1960s.

Timo Sarpaneva was not just a poet of materials but was also a highly skilled industrial designer who produced popular domestic wares including dinner services, furnishing fabrics and an iconic cast-iron cooking pot. The glass designs that we are again making available date from 1956.

Download press images of the folded rim collection >

For more information, please contact:
Phone: +46 8 509 08 100