We are very pleased to feature Ole Jensen’s profile on NordicDesign! He is one of our favortie Danish designer of this time. We were very honored when he kindly agreed to answer our questions. He has an admirable talent and creativity. He designed so many great objects and furniture – it is impressive. Think Ole cups from Royal Copenhagen; Washing-up bowl, Memory armchair and Dust-pan & Broom for Normann Copenhagen; EPDM Rubber tub for Danish Crafts; OJ Floor lamp for Louis Poulsen; Vitamin Container for Muuto; And much, much more.
Where did it all started?
Born and grew up at a Shell petrol station. When still a young man, trained as a motor mechanic, just like my father. Became quite proficient as a plate smith! Was fairly sure, even so, that it was something else that I really wanted to do. Began studying in 1981 at the Kolding School of Design as a ceramic designer, qualifying in 1985. In 1985 I was admitted to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, entering at the same time into a collaboration with Bing & Grøndahl Porcelain (later Royal Copenhagen). This mix of study and collaboration with an industrial art company has in many ways had a considerable influence on my later work as a ceramist and designer – in the sense that every new assignment can be entered into as if it was a ‘study’ and that design will always be an artistic discipline for me.
How would you describe your style?
As a kind of simple luxury. Or a luxuriant minimalism.
Favourite material to work with:
As my point of departure: CLAY. But, this typically changes as the process develops. It all depends on the assignment.
Any special projects at the moment?
This last autumn I have worked with the Danish Arts Foundation on some new rain cowls (raincapes) dedicated to the ancient road, Haervejen (an old medieval route through Jutland). Have also presented new lamps after long, exciting development work with Louis Poulsen Lighting. It would seem that this collaboration is to continue. Am actually busy on a whole lot of things. The most difficult thing is always to get the really good assignment established. So that one can both get things finished without at the same time turning out too much ‘crap’ (trivial rubbish).
Best thing about being a ceramist/designer:
The best thing is when you are fortunate enough to make something quite ordinary that somehow also appears to be something special. Or, to put it another way: when what is commonly recognisable appears as something refreshingly new.
You, in three words:
Always in doubt! (nearly)
What inspires you?
The everyday. The daily round, the common task.
“I’m at my most creative when…”:
When I am listening to Brian Wilson in the wee hours and engrossed in a problem to which I would like to give concrete form. Particularly if the form gives me a little in return.
Best thing(s) about Scandinavia:
The weather. Our home. And the way in which we ‘care’ about things ‘close’ to us
Favorite designer and/or artist:
There are many. The works of the late Danish artist Gunnar Aagaard Andersen are still exceptionally fantastic. And I also think that the many and diverse works of Konstantin Grcic always have an underplayed, precise quality about them.
On your wish list:
A new allotment shack. As a sort of pavilion. Where we can enjoy the brief Danish summers.
What can’t you live without?
Beach Boys, Brian Wilson – and the occasional glass of red wine.
Scandinavian tradition(s) you love:
Am not really very keen on Scandinavian traditions. But bathing in the dock pool at Copenhagen harbour or biking to Amager Strandpark and jumping into the Sea are both fun and healthy as well as being something one can be proud of.
Favorite travel spot:
You, in five years:
Five years older and, I hope, able to come up with something new and important. And I wouldn’t mind having a house in Italy!