Designer Spotlight: Henning Koppel

A multi-medium Danish design icon of the Mid-Mentury Modern era.


Henning Koppel is without question one of the most well-known, productive and versatile designers of the 1950s and 60s from Denmark.

From the time he started working for the Georg Jensen studio in 1945 until his death in 1981 Henning Koppel produced what seems like a never-ending flood of groundbreaking and breathtaking designs.


The ‘Pregnant’ duck silver pitcher for Georg Jensen

The Koppel 'Frog' and 'Duck' Figures, made in silver for many functions

The Splash-series of silver jewellery: Brooches, Bracelets, Earrings for Georg Jensen

The Taverna Tankard, Master’s Cup in Copper and Silver Plate for Georg Jensen

The Petronella Oil Lamp for Louis Poulsen

Henning Koppel's Taverna 'Master's Cup' Tankard for Georg Jensen, in Rare Original Box

His work for Georg Jensen is undoubtedly what he is most famous and well-known for, but he also worked closely with a number of other famous Danish and international companies. These include Bing & Grøndahl, Orrefors, Ørskov and many more - all listed in a comprehensive overview below.

One especially admirable thing, which was somewhat unique for Henning Koppel is how versatile he was as a designer. Unlike other Danish designers like Finn Juhl and Per Lütken who stayed very much within their niche and worked with only one material mainly, Koppel worked with a hugely vast range of materials.

In his book Henning Koppel, Viggo Sten Møller quoted Koppel as saying that "he found it inspiring to dabble in varying materials," which is undoubtedly why he constantly sought new challenges, which he found plenty of when switching mediums.

Some materials are more difficult than others. He worked with Orrefors and Holmegaard (previously Kastrup Glasværk until 1977) on glass projects. These are among some of the lesser-known Koppel-designs, because the results were not to Koppel's full satisfaction due to the limitations of the medium of glass, comparatively to for instance silver.

He worked on a glass series called Frederiksborg with Swedish Orrefors , which was never fulfilled. Some pieces do exist today.



Though Henning Koppel designed shapes for many different materials within the Georg Jensen company, he sometimes sought outside the company for collaborations with other companies. This led to some very rare pieces due to limited production, and other very famous and widely owned designs that gained household-name status, such as the Petronella he designed for Louis Poulsen.


Henning Koppel produced many items of various materials for Georg Jensen - most notably silver, pewter, brass, and copper.

Though neither Koppel nor Georg Jensen as a company in general, produced many designs in copper, Koppel’s line of Taverna products, which consist of designs made in silver plated copper and exposed copper, became highly popular, and is very collectible today.

From our experience, this line is fairly vast. We keep coming across new items that we cannot find any information about online, because they are so scarce.

So while there are many designs, some were not produced in very large numbers.

The most well-known designs in the Taverna-line are:

- The pots and pans, which are fairly common.

- His tankards, or Masters Cup. These are very collectible today.

- The shot glasses, or schnapps glasses (pictured below) as they are known in Denmark, are extremely rarely up for sale today, and therefore highly collectible, and often quite expensive.

Other designs we have come across a few times include: chargers (we have found 3 versions), small salts, and small tapas-style serving bowls. These are all extremely rare, and we have only seen each when we have actually owned them – fully unable to find anything about them on the internet. All of these are completely in the same style as the rest of the Taverna items, but are not stamped HK, only the Georg Jensen logo.

Note: some taverna items like the pots and pans were produced in aluminium, and similarly some of the salts and bowls were produced with aluminium covering the inside, while others of the same design were silver plated on the inside.

Similarly to the Taverna pieces, we have also found some very rare designs in his brass-ware collection. More well-known are his coffee/tea set of coffee/tea-pot, sugar bowl and creamer, but lesser known is the larger bowl, and a larger version of the creamer, which potentially is not a creamer at all, but a small vessel for another purpose.

Many of Koppel's designs were produced in steel, and most of these items are still in vast production today, though some were discontinued and are rare. Most of his more precious designs, like items produced in finer metals with the exception of silver, are not in production today, which makes them very rare and sought after. Among discontinued items is a stainless steel Frog Paperweight (pictured further down). The shape is so special, so no wonder people love it.

Lesser known items, which are also very rare today include designs in melamine, wood, and gold (really just his silver designs in gold).

Though his pewter designs are very scarce, they are all made extremely luxuriously. Among these, a line of office accessories was produced, which was often combined with ebony. These include a ruler, a table bell, a candle snuffer, a magnifying glass and more. He also made some of these in silver/ebony versions. They are very special, and would make strong statements in any home decoration.

Top left: HK for GJ Pewter desk accessories, keepsake jar and open bowl.

Top right, Bottom left: HK for GJ Melamine