More than just a monkey!
Kay was born in Denmark in 1886. Little is known about his early years but after completing an apprenticeship with Georg Jensen in 1910 he graduated as a silversmith. He continued his studies the following year at the Royal Craft School of Precious Metals before working in Paris and Copenhagen and then setting up his own studio in 1913.
1930 was a defining moment as Bojesen broke from the highly decorative style of Georg Jensen to pursue much simpler uncluttered style where the undecorated forms emphasised their mechanical production. In 1931 in an effort to promote modern design he co-founded “Den-Permanente”, a permanent centre for Danish crafts and mass produced products. This was one of the first such spaces for design in Europe and preceded the Design Council in the UK by over 10 years.
The 1930’s also heralded a change of material choice for Bojesen. Leaving behind the metal of his formative years he turned his attention to glorious wood. Amongst his creations from this period were a series of wooden animals which dovetailed his belief that design should be soft, natural, organic and feel good in the hand. Many are still made to this day including the Dachshund and Horse.
Over the next thirty years the zoo grew and grew to include puffins, hippos, zebras and birds but it was in 1951 that the monkey was born. Capturing the essence of the primate in just a few curves but with a large dose of cheeky mischief it was an immediate hit and today is the only present acceptable to welcome a Danish newborn.
A year later in 1952 Bojesen was appointed Silversmith to the King of Denmark.
Kay Bojesen died at the age of 72 leaving behind a catalogue of over 2000 pieces including cutlery, jewellery, a wooden Father Christmas and of course that monkey!