Karl Gustav Hansen
Hans Hansen (1884-1940) started his own goldsmith shop and smithy in Kolding, Denmark in about 1906. In the 20’s he started producing his own line of silver flatware based on his and H.F. Gross’ designs. Initially the company produced flatware. Once that was successful, they began producing jewelry. The first pieces were designed by Hansen himself around 1931. The company's range of products and reputation for superb modernist design was however established by his son, Karl Gustav Hansen, who was apprenticed in his father's workshop in 1932.
Karl Gustav Hansen was born in Kolding on December 10, 1914. The younger Hansen showed an early aptitude for his craft and left school at 16 to become an apprentice to Einar Olsen a hollowware smith. In 1934, KGH presented his test piece, a teapot on a chafing dish and received the silver medal, the highest distinction in the Danish appprenticeship system. Shortly afterwards he enrolled at the School of Sculpture at the Art Academy but continued to work with silver.
After travelling in Europe KGH opened up a workshop with his father in Copenhagen where passers-by could watch KGH and three other craftsmen at work through a large window. KGH had his first larger exhibition of works in Copenhagen in May 1940.
The next month, his father died at only 56 years old. KGH was 25 and he took over the Hans Hansen Silversmithy. This collection was called "Future" and comprised about 50 pieces, including brooches, rings, clasps, earrings, etc. Other designers such as Bent Gabrielsen Pedersen and Bent Knudsen also worked for Hansen and by the 1980s Allan Scharff was the leading designer.
The company was taken over by the Royal Scandinavia Group in 1991 and thus incorporated into Georg Jensen. Several Hans Hansen designs are still being produced by Georg Jensen today.