Jacob Jensen

Jacob Jensen, industrial designer, was born on 29 April 1926 in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, the son of upholsterer Alfred Jensen and Olga Jensen. He left primary school after the 7th grade and became a journeyman uphosterer in 1944. He was later admitted into the School of Applied Arts in 1948 where his instructors included Jacob Hermann, Kaare Klint, Hans J Wegner and Jorn Utzon. Jensen left school in 1952 with industrial design as his specialised subject.

Between 1952 - 58 he was employed at Sigvard Bernadotte & Acton Bjorn - the first Danish industrial design studio and became leader of the Studio from 1954 onwards. During this time he also worked in the USA with Raymond Loewey, and Latham Tyler & Jensen; Assistant professor in industrial design at The Chicago University 1959 - 61.

He set up his own studio from 1958 under the name of Jacob Jensen Design.

Jacob Jensen has, during the past 50 years has designed more than 500 industrial products and developed survival strategies, product families and form language for numerous Danish and foreign companies, among them: Bang & Olufsen A/S (developed form language and designed most of the audio products during the period 1964 - 91); porcelain for Rosenthal Studio; hearing aids for GN Danavox; hi-fi for General Electric; office chairs for Labofa A/S; telephones for Alcatel-Kirk; cable reels for Jo-Jo A/S; watches, telephones and the ‘Jensen One’ car for Max René; wind turbines for NEG Micon A/S; modem for LASAT Networkd A/S; kitchen hardware for Gaggenau Hausgerate GmbH.

He has also received through the years around one hundred national and international awards for his design. In 1996 he was honoured with the ‘Knight of the Order of Dannebrog’ issued after endorsement by the Ministry of Foreign affairs by the cabinet secretary of Amalienborg. In 1999, he was included in the ‘Great Danes’, a list compiled by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the 50 most recognised Danes. He is represented in a number of museums, among them The Museum of Modern Art in New York with nineteen products included in their Design Collection and Design Study Collection. In 1978, Jacob Jensen was honoured with an exhibition together with Bang & Olufsen under the title ‘Bang & Olufsen, Design for Sound by Jacob Jensen’ at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Today he is recognised as one of the leading creators of original form among industrial designers of the 20th century.

In 1999, The Museum of Modern Art published the book ‘MoMA Highlights’, a collection of the museum’s most important acquisitions from the 20th century. Jacob Jensen is represented within as one of two Danes - the other is Carl Th. Dreyer - with the Beogram 6000 record player.

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