Orrefors Glass

I first learnt of Orrefors glass when I came across a pair of lamps similar to these:

Pair of dark blue Orrefor lamps available at Quotient
They were different but still simple. I wasn't very surprised when I learnt that Orrefors is a Swedish company since many things Swedish are, in my mind, wonderfully beautiful. And yes, before IKEA came other companies that walked the line of good design and mass production. Orrefors, which started in 1898, made many more pieces than just household wares however.  They also made art glass prized for its beauty and even given as gifts by royalty and heads of state.

The name Orrefors comes from a combination of the word orre, which is the bird you see in the company's logo, and the word for, which is Swedish for river crossing, where the company's factory was located.

Teams of glass blowers, decorators, draftsmen, designers, and engravers made the Orrefors name famous through the decades. One of the struggles facing the company was finding new production methods and styles to define not only the company but also a Swedish style of glass design. Another issue was constantly finding a balance between making art glass to raise the notoriety of the Orrefors name and mass producing household wares which was necessary to maintain a steady stream of profit for the company. Attitudes towards design and fashionable style were another consideration.


Glass production was not the sole work of the Orrefors company at its inception (it started in 1726 as an iron company), but by about 1915 a glass design and production team was well established. Following the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement in England, Orrefors' designers strived to make all their designs elegant and appealing whether the piece was to be mass produced or used as a piece for an exhibition. The Arts and Crafts movement called for "beauty [as] a social function which contributed to a better, and more harmonious life."* Beautiful things were required to help society, and manufacturers, now well established after the Industrial Revolution, were needed to produce these objects. So magnificent were some of Orrefors glass pieces, that through a series of exhibitions in the 1920s Orrefors pushed itself to the forefront of global glass manufacturing. 

Styles and public views never stay constant for too long and as the years passed Orrefors designs morphed to meet new demands. Historical styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco were being banished for modern Industrial styles led by Germany by the 1930s. Form follows function was the new philosophy. Orrefors designs employed less engraving and more glass blowing at this time as the company again tried to redefine its style. The qualities of glass, as a material, were celebrated and how the pieces were created was made clear, in a way returning to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s. 


Come the 1950s Orrefors was part of a global focus on Scandinavian design that again allowed the company the opportunity to be acknowledge for its beautiful and skillful work. Designers such as Nils Landberg, created stunning pieces for Orrefors that are, once again, in high demand. 
Orrefors is still in business selling glass products, http://www.orrefors.us/ but I have to admit the older pieces have more allure! 
Nils Landberg for Orrefors at gallery L7
$520 each piece

Carl Fagerlund designed lamps for Orrefors available at B4

Detail of pair of lamps by Orrefors available at Maison Gerard

1920s Art Deco Orrefor chandelier with etched glass shade available at B4

*   Orrefors Glass by Alastair Duncan pg. 26