HISTORY of Orrefors
Orrefors Glassworks was founded in 1898 on the same site where ironworks had been run since 1726. In the same year that the glassworks was founded, a hot shop was built for making technical, medical and household glass and stemware to make use of waste wood and labour. Glass now replaced the less profitable ironworks operations.
In 1913, Consul Johan Ekman from Gothenburg became the new owner of Orrefors Glassworks. He appointed Albert Ahlin as manager of the glassworks and this marked the start of a new era. In 1914, Orrefors started manufacturing crystal products, and as well as cut crystal according to purchased patterns and samples, Orrefors made art glass using the overlay technique with etched decoration. The new management quickly saw that artists were needed in the business, so Simon Gate was employed in 1916 and was joined by Edward Hald a year later.
That same year, Gate and Hald made their first tentative attempts at figure engraving. They also experimented with the new innovative graal (grail) glass technique that was developed at Orrefors by the master glassblower Knut Bergqvist. The major successes were achieved a few years later at the Gothenburg Exhibition in 1923, and in particular at the Paris Exhibition in 1925. The thin engraved glass was admired by the surrounding world, and both Orrefors and the artists themselves were awarded the Grand Prix.
Orrefors has produced utility glass and art glass made of crystal since 1898.
Timeless Scandinavian elegance, innovative design and genuine craftsmanship are the defining characteristics of Orrefors products. Orrefors regularly presents new collections of utility glassware produced in large-volume series and limited-edition art glass.
Ernst Sven Robert Palmqvist ( 1906 – 1964 )
Sven Palmqvist studied at Orrefors in engraving and freehand drawing. He also studied at the Technical School (now Artfack) and the Royal Academy in Stockholm , and spent a few years in Paris. During World War II , Palmqvist returned to Orrefors’s and stayed there until his retirement in 1971.
Sven Palmqvist invented several new art glass technicians at Orrefors. Kraka was launched in 1944 as a development of the grail glass , where air bubbles and metal mesh together to form interesting patterns in the glass. In 1948 he developed Ravenna , a combination of a stained glass plate, glass cross and a layer of clear glass. His biggest success was the Fuga bowl series . The idea is based on centrifuging the glass mass in a spun, fast rotating form, instead of blowing the glass. The result was an affordable production of durable and simple, thick-walled glass bowls of different colours and sizes. Sven Palmqvist was a versatile glass artist and his works are seen in public contexts such as the sculpture of glass block Elektronik contra stalactite in SVT ‘s entrance in Stockholm and the decoration of a Royal palace in Dubai , but also in smaller environments such as Kråksmåla church where he designed the font.
Palmqvist is represented in the National museum in Stockholm and Kalmar Art Museum.