Kay Bojesen was a Danish silversmith, designer and producer, who lived from 1886 to 1958 in Copenhagen. Although an apprentice of the famous Danish silversmith, George Jensen, Kay Bojesen is best known for his heart-warming wooden toys, which never fail to bring a smile to onlookers’ faces.
Kay Bojesen was the first Dane to design toys as craft objects. He began by making wooden figures for his son in 1922. But as word of the toys spread, demand for them grew. Eventually, they were put into production, made by traditional Danish craftspeople. The toys were sold at Bojesen’s silversmith shop in Copenhagen, which operated until 1992. They became a great success.
Although Kay Bojesen had children in mind when he started making the toys, his wooden figures are equally appreciated by grownups. Today they have become collectors’ items and are likely to be displayed on a shelf as art objects.
This is certainly the case in Denmark, where people generally regard
Bojesen’s toys in the same light as the work of other timeless Danish design icons. That be architects and designers such as Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen or Borge Mogensen.
Attesting to the ongoing interest in Kay Bojesen, a major exhibition of his work was held at the Sophienholm Museum near Copenhagen a few years ago. Several private collectors lent the museum items from their collection.
The toys have likewise become international design classics and are part of the permanent collections of various prominent art museums around the world, among them MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The prototypes of the original wooden toys made by Kay Bojesen are in the safe keeping of the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen.