Danish industrial designer Jacob Jensen was a prolific designer from the Danish Modern movement. During this golden era, Jensen rose to prominence by designing audio products for Bang & Olufsen, a consumer electronics company. His sleek and functional creations turned him into one of the most successful designers of the 20th century. Behind his multi-award winning designs, here are the following facts:
1. Jensen began his career in upholstery.
- He worked as an apprentice under his father and dropped out of seventh grade to complete his training. His father soon ran a furniture workshop where Jensen created his own designs.
- Jensen attended the Danish Design School and graduated as the only student of a new course called “industrial design”.
2. He turned Bang & Olufsen into an international icon.
- Within Jensen’s 27 years in the company, he designed 234 products (e.g., amplifiers, tuners, turntables) and created its design language which is still used today.
- The Museum of Modern Art exhibited 28 products in a solo international exhibition, and purchased 19 pieces for its permanent collection.
3. Though best known for audio products, Jensen designed for a wide range of clients.
- He made telephones for Alcatel-Kirk, wind turbines for NEG Micon, the Margrethe Bowl for Rosti Mepal, hearing aids for Danavox, and Hi-Fi for General Electric.
- Today, Jensen Jacob Design’s top clients include Volvo, Panasonic, LG, Haier, Toshiba, and Vertu.
4. He turned over his company to his son Timothy Jacob Jensen.
- Like his father, Timothy also trained as an apprentice. Under his leadership, Jacob Jensen Design maintains its status as the most decorated design house in Scandinavia.
- The company has expanded to include global offices in Shanghai and Bangkok.
5. Jensen’s design philosophy is still being used today.
- His formula for design is Pure + Perfect + Enduring. Products must have “pure” function and form instinctual to the user, “perfect” composition in their essence, and “enduring” design that solves the problems of today and tomorrow.
- Jensen’s personal methodology involved revising a design around 30-40 times, leaving it overnight, then viewing the model for 6-7 seconds. He repeated the cycle if the design failed his snap judgement.
6. The Jacob Jensen Design studio is a house on the shores of an inlet.
- The structure was built by a former teacher at the Danish Design School. The bricks naturally regulate temperature and absorb moisture, the wooden doors all have different designs, and the plaster walls were done by hand.
- When not overseas, Timothy arrives first at the studio, and usually plays Bach in the morning and Pink Floyd in the afternoon.
7. Jensen earned over a hundred international awards during his lifetime.
- He received two medals for his exemplary work. The first was from King Frederik IX of Denmark. The second medal was from King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia of Sweden.
- He was also given the title of Great Dane and bestowed with the Knights Cross of the Order of Dannebrog.
With his rigorous discipline and perseverance, Jacob Jensen founded two generations of innovative design. His legacy thrives in a strong brand that continues to produce some of the world’s most beautifully and intelligently crafted products.
Do Jacob Jensen’s designs appeal to you? Which one is your favorite?
To learn more about other inspiring product designers, check out their interesting facts here.