Danish lighting designer Johannes (Jo) Hammerborg was born in Randers, Denmark in 1920. He trained as a silversmith in Silkeborg and Randers between 1942 and 1944. He went on to attend the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. From 1949 to 1957, he worked as a silversmith for noted Danish silver brand Georg Jensen.
In 1957, Hammerborg became head of design at Danish lighting company Fog & Mørup. He brought with him a strong modern design sensibility, a strategy for a cohesive brand identity, as well as strict new production requirements for all of the brand’s pieces. Hammerborg’s tenure at the company was both artistically and commercially successful. While there, he designed over 60 lamps and pendants and collaborated with several designers, helping adapt their work to meet the brand’s stringent new manufacturing requirements. He was also intimately involved in the brand’s collaborations with porcelain manufacturer Royal Copenhagen and Holmegaard glassworks. Hammerborg’s own lights earned him multiple honors, including a 1965 CICi first prize for Nova and four iF Product Design Awards in 1969 for Tunika, Classic, Diskos and Saturn designs.
He remained at Fog & Mørup until 1980, when he left to establish his own lighting company. Following his departure, the company underwent a series of mergers that ultimately led to its demise.
In 1982, Hammerborg—an avid airborne sports enthusiast—passed away tragically at the age of 62 in a skydiving accident on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.