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Jacob Jensen - Danish Designer

Jacob Jensen is a world renowned industrial designer who was born on April 29, 1926 in Vesterbro, Copenhagen (København). An industrial designer is essentially a cross between and engineer and an artist.  Jacob Jensen is best known for his work with the Danish electronics company Bang and Olufsen (B&O).

Jacob Jensen ccame from humble beginnings. His father Alfred Jensen was an upholsterer and his mother Olga Jensen was a housewife.  Jacob decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and set about training to become an upholsterer. In 1946 at the age of 20 Jacob completed his training. The following year Jacob joined his father at his newly opened furniture workshop in Copenhagen. It was here that Jacob first started designing furniture. Jacob Jensen’s natural gift for design did not go unnoticed for long, and he was soon being encouraged to apply to the highly respected Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts (Kunsthåndværkerskolen København).   

Jacob Jensen was admitted into the School of Applied Arts in 1948 where over the next 4 years he was lucky enough to be instructed by some of the greatest Danish architects and designers of the 20th century.  Some of his teachers included Jacob Hermann, Hans J. Wegner and Jørn Utzon. The instruction that Jacob received was based on the design concepts of Kaare Klint who was perhaps the most famed Danish designer at the time. The Kaare Klint concept of design stressed ergonomics. 

Jacob Jensen graduated from the school in 1952 with industrial design as his specialized subject. From 1952-1958 he was employed at the first Danish industrial design studio “Bernadotte & Bjørn” in Copenhagen. At the time this was the only industrial design studio in all of Scandinavia. Sigvard Bernadotte and Acton Bjørn were the founders of the studio, hence the name ‘Bernadotte & Bjørn”.  Sigvard Bernadotte happened to be the second son of the Swedish King Gustav VI Adolf.

Jacob began to head the studio in 1954 until he left in 1958. During this time he also worked in the Big Apple with the famed New York designer Raymond Loewy. He also work in Chicago with the big industrial design firm Latham,Tyler & Jensen.

In 1958 Jacob Jensen finally opened his own studio under the name JACOB JENSEN DESIGN in the posh district of Copenhagen. This business decision did not immediately suit Jacob as he was a designer at heart and not a business man.  He found that he was spending most of his time administering his staff and running the business rather than designing. He then made the radical decision to reduce his staff to two and move his business approximately 45 min west of Copenhagen to the small town of Jyllinge near Roskilde.

Now that he was free to spend more time designing he set about working on a project which would eventually give him the iconic status he has achieved. The project was designing an extensive design concept for General Electric electronics devision. Jacob’s concept was to design and build electronic system of the future. He wanted to design electronic systems with an ultra modern feel. While General Electric rejected Jacob’s proposal there was another little known Danish company who found Jacob’s concepts to be revolutionary. That company was Bang & Olufsen.

In 1966 Jacob Jensen moved his company to its present location in the small town of Hejlskov on Limfjord in Northern Jutland (Jylland). The move was in some ways to facilitate his new working relationship with Bang & Olufsen which started in 1964. B&O headquarters were and are still situated in Struer approximately 50km away from Hejlskov . The company operates out of a beautiful modern building which designed by Jacob Hermann who was former teacher of Jacob’s at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen.

The Future for Jacob Jensen Design
JACOB JENSEN DESIGN continues to play a leading role within industrial design. Jacob Jensen has personally been a world class designer for 6 decades. Even though Jacob Jensen turned 83 in 2009 he is still an active designer in the design studio. However, the torch has truly been passed onto Jacob’s son Timothy Jacob Jensen who is a world class designer in his own right. In 1991 Timothy took over the company. Timothy had been working for the company since he apprenticed under his father from 1978-1981. He is now the owner, director and chief designer of JACOB JENSEN DESIGN.
In 2007, the year before JACOB JENSEN DESIGN celebrated its 50th anniversary the father and son duo teamed up and opened a joint exhibition of their works. The exhibition was titled, ”GENERATIONS – JACOB JENSEN DESIGN a retrospective exhibition of 50 years of internationally groundbreaking Danish design”.

During Jacob Jensen’s long and extravagant career he has created a number of design icons. He has received many design awards from all over the planet. Many of his designs have changed our concept of what music systems, telephones, watches, kitchens and a large variety of other everyday products can be.

LastUpdate: 2015-04-18 16:59:53