Holmegaard, originally established in 1825, is Denmark's oldest and largest glass manufacturer. Although much of its early work is thought to be derivative and inconsequential, between the 1930s and 1980s, the designs of Jacob E. Bang, Per Lütken, and Bang's son, Michael are considered to have transformed the company into a powerhouse of Danish design.
The company’s origins began when Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe, a Danish count, petitioned the King of Denmark for permission to establish a glass factory. Shortly after the Count’s death in 1823, permission was granted to his widow Countess Henriette Danneskiold-Samsøe. In 1825 she established a glass factory in Fensmark. The factory was built in the Holmegaard bog, the peat from which provided enough fuel available to produce the high temperatures required for the glass kiln. In the beginning the factory produced only green bottles, but soon began producing translucent glass tumblers and other tableware in the 1830s, at the Countess’ behest believing every Dane should have a beautiful drinking glass.
In 1928, Holmegaard welcomed its first designer, Jacob Eiler Bang (1899-1965). Originally trained as an architect, but due to his work for Holmegaard, became known as Denmark’s first industrial designer and the creator of functionalism in Danish glassware. His design mantra, “beautiful, strong, practical, and cheap,” formed the basis for Holmegaard’s own mission statement: “Every Dane should be given the opportunity to own a Holmegaard glass.” In the 1920s, Bang’s functionalist designs received significant acclaim at several international exhibitions, which helped Holmegaard emerge from serious financial trouble. During his time at the glass factory, Bang designed countless products that have now become collector’s items including the 54-piece Kunstglasservice (1928), the Rosenborg Range (1929), the Gisselfeld Range (1933), the Stjerneborg Range (1937)—which are some of Holmegaard’s longest-selling collections, and the Antique Green Range (1965) which was revamped in 2012 and is now known as JEB 65.
From 1942 until 1998, Danish glassmaker Per Lütken (1916-1998) worked at Holmegaard, breathing life into more than 3,000 assorted designs and creating some of the glassworks’ most well-known pieces, such as the Provence Bowl (1955), the Selandia Dish (1957), No. 5 Range (1970), Ship’s Glass Range (1971), Idéelle Range (1978), and Charlotte Amalie Range (1981). His arrival marked the beginning of a new era for Holmegaard. Known for his perfectionism, Lütken’s timeless and intricate pieces were a hallmark of Danish design during the 1960s and ‘70s. Today, his work is still highly regarded throughout Scandinavia and further afield.
In 1965, Holmegaard merged with the manufacturers Kastrup, Hellerup, and Fyens to become Kastrup og Holmegaards.
Sometime in the 1980s, Bang’s son, Michael (1942-2013) joined Holmegaard as a designer. He is known for the MB Range (1981), the Mandarin Lamp (1983), Fontaine Wine Glass (1987), and the Mixed Double Bonbonniere (2003).
Today, Holmegaard is the leading glass producer in Denmark, producing both mouth-blown and machine-blown glass.