Inspiring Icons / Nils Thorsson

Inspiring Icons / Nils Thorsson

By Studio Marcus Hay / Published by Studio Marcus Hay
Inspiring Icon / Nils Thorsson

In 2008, in the Sam Mendes film Revolutionary Road starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, which was beautifully Art Directed by Debra Schutt and Kristi Zea I will always remember a Baca vase by designer Nils Thorsson that sat in the Living room of their 1950’s house. For me it really stood out, as I had always loved these vases. As a Stylist and Art Director myself, it’s funny the things you remember. Today I am lucky to own quite a few Nils Thorsson pieces, many that I picked up in flea markets in Denmark. I love their unique silhouettes and highly personalized styling. 

 Nils Thorsson (1898 - 1975) was a Swedish/ Danish ceramic artist and designer for Royal Copenhagen. Nils joined Royal Copenhagen as an apprentice in 1912, and graduated from the royal Danish Academy in 1917. He went on to become Royal Copenhagen’s most prolific designer. He was Artistic director at Royal Copenhagen from 1949 while also artistic director of Alumina also from 1928-1969 

He designed at least four of their best-known production ranges – Solberg (1930’s), Marselis (Alumina 1950’s) Tenera (1960’s) and Baca (1960/70’s) 

Nils extensive career produced so much work it is very difficult to highlight it all, he changed courses many times during the decades at Royal Copenhagen and his work reflects the fashions of each era beautifully. His pieces from the 1950s to the 1970’s, especially from the Baca and Tenera ranges, were and remain some of Royal Copenhagen’s most popular works coveted as being prime examples of mid-century modernism. 

 Nils’s motifs and designs ranged from the naturalistic to abstract to geometric designs often embracing regular motifs such as birds, fish and butterflies. 

I hope you all enjoy this article and are inspired to celebrate this amazing career. These layouts are designed by SMH, Inc for our blog only. All images are credited where possible. 

Left: Portrait of Nils, shot in 1972 in his studio, Image from the book"The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory 1775-1975" Right: Detail of a platter from the Baca range 

The Baca range, designed in the 1960's/ 70's

The Marselis range designed for the company Alumina in the 1950's

Left: From a advert for Baca lamp bases, Right: A bowl from the Baca range

The iconic Baca vases

A detail of a platter designed by Nils from the Baca years

Left: Detail of a tile from the Baca range, Right: A trinket box in the Baca range

From the Baca range, including tiles, a trinket box and a beautifully inspired Japanese silhouette sake cup

Left: Furniture using tiles designed by Nils, Right: Bird motif vase from the Baca range   


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