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As lovers of Scandinavian design, we are well aware of the impact that Scandinavia has had on the world of interior design but something you may not know is the rich history of glass blowing that comes from these northern nations.
In the forests of Småland, southern Sweden, there exists a place known as the Kingdom of Crystal. The history of this region dates back to 1742 when Kosta Boda set up their first hot shop. The location provided running water to power the machines and an almost endless supply of wood to fire the furnaces.
Over the years the number of competitors has dwindled but the passion for creating beautiful and functional glassware at Kosta Boda burns as bright as ever.
Kosta Boda has come a long way since such humble beginnings, with almost 300 years of glass design and history behind them, you may be wondering what could possibly be next, but Kosta Boda’s story is far from over. The next chapter has only just begun.
A true testament to Scandinavian design, Kosta Boda’s glassworks pride themselves on the deep historical roots and the design traditions that are as alive today, as they were when it all began.
Today Kosta Boda has made a name for itself as the number one glassworks in Northern Europe. The focus on minimal, functional, Scandinavian design serves them well.
With a focus on our modern lifestyle Kosta Boda is on a mission to bring contemporary, Scandinavian glassware into our modern homes.
We spoke to David Carlson, the Creative Director for Kosta Boda about what sets Kosta Boda apart from other glassworks and Scandinavian design brands and what the future holds for the company.
Historically, Kosta Boda has produced everything from windows to tableware, however it was the development of their artist glassworks in the early 20th century that really put Kosta Boda on the map.
The journey from small town glass blowers to the internationally renowned glassworks has not always been straight forward but David puts their success down to “dedicated owners, who had a clear vision and understood the importance of keeping up with the modern design practices.”
“At the same time, it is also very important to preserve the design heritage and not forget where we have come from”, he continues, “these aspects, combined with a unique assortment and strong design language are the secret to Kosta Boda’s success.”
There is something magical about glass, perhaps it is the way it catches the light, or perhaps the magic lies in the process of creation; the almost illogical process of turning a grainy substance into molten hot liquid that cools to form a transparent material that is both durable and light.
It is this magical transformation that has transfixed the glass blowers and designers at Kosta Boda for generations. “Glass is an incredibly difficult medium to work with” David tells us “but it is also very special”.
It takes many years for the glass blowers at Kosta Boda to hone their craft and the collaboration between designer and craftsman is something that is unique to the process at Kosta Boda, creating pieces that are not only hand crafted but also well thought through, so they function beautifully in your home.
With a firm focus on everyday life the designers for Kosta Boda draw inspiration from fashion, music, art and the environment around us. Sara Woodrow’s whimsical All About You collection that tells the story of a long-distance romance and is the perfect example of the collaborative process between glassblower and artist.
Sara’s beautiful artwork is brought to life on a series of drinking glasses and carafes that work together to tell the whole story, reflecting the feelings and moments we share with our loved ones as we journey through life.
The All About You collection tells the story of the feelings and moments we share with our loved ones as we journey through life.
Kosta Boda’s latest collections are an intriguing mix of colour and texture, combing playful designs with a contemporary aesthetic. This symbiosis between skilled craftsmanship and creative design is a recipe for success it seems as Kosta Boda was recently awarded a Red Dot award in the category of product Design “Best of the Best,”for their Crackle vase designed by Åsa Jungnelius.
Over the years Kosta Boda has worked with artists and designers from around the world; Sara Woodrow, Göran Wärff and Bertil Vallien to name a few but the list goes on. Even today the designers and artists are the core of Kosta Boda’s continued success and development.
These bright and bold collections are key to Kosta Boda’s past, and they remain key to their future. Collaboration and craftsmanship are a constant in the evolution of this design brand.
We are creating a brand that is at the forefront of design and interior products.” – David Carlson, Creative Director for Kosta Boda
Reminiscent of the 60’s Pagod brings a bright pop of contemporary colour into any home.
Kosta Boda’s vision has always been crystal clear - functional glass design for functional homes. These timeless home décor pieces have been handcrafted and woven into Kosta Boda’s design heritage, nestled in there amongst the glass art are practical art pieces for your home.
“We are on a on a journey” David explains, “for the past couple of years we have been working on transforming the brand to make it really relevant for future consumers.”
We want to use our 300 years of glass tradition and combine that with the best contemporary design in a way in which we can really understand our younger consumers, as well as what's happening in the world.” Says David.
Classic elegance that captures the afternoon light.
One of the most remarkable things about Kosta Boda’s glassware is how it can transform any space, capturing the light on a sunny day and causing it to dance around the room in a display of colour.
Kosta Boda’s latest assortment includes everything from drinking glasses to candlesticks and vases, all in an explosion of colour but for those of us who are unsure of how we can bring these items into our homes David has some advice.
“When it comes to glass have fun with it,” he says “choose something that fits your personality and just have fun.”
“There is no longer a trend for a whole collection of glasses from the same series for example, we are not telling people that you should drink with this or that, but rather choose something that suits you and your style, pick something that fits with what you already have at home.” David continues.
“When it comes to the more decorative pieces use these to inject personality into your home, mix and match and simply be daring.” He concludes.
Kosta Boda’s glassware is a testament to the playful nature and versatility of glass as a medium. Through a unique collaborative process Kosta Boda demonstrates how glass can be both functional and aesthetic. By working with designers and artists who possess a passion for Scandinavian design and traditional processes Kosta Boda is sure to keep the fires lit for many years to come.
Styling: Rebecca Sparling; Photography: Angeliqa Daldorph, Elof Martinsson; Video: Lukas Kunwaryanto