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US / SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN MICHAEL LAX FOR COPCO

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Kitchen1519 of 2969Sailboat Glass Candy Container/AshtrayUgly Head Teapot
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Posted 2 years ago

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vetraio50
(436 items)

This is a personal kitchen favorite! It came home about five years ago from the Salvos and has been used regularly at home ever since. It is an earlier version from the sixties and is not enameled within the pot. The handles are a fabulous feature of the design and if placed off-centre they aid in checking food during cooking.
When I first bought it I thought “Copco Denmark – who can the designer be?” I had in mind one of the Danish notables but when I looked up the internet got a surprise about an American designer working for a Danish company. That was cool! And totally unexpected!

The Guardian said of Micahel Lax in his obituary in 1999:
“Michael Lax, who has died aged 69, was an industrial designer best known for the two icons of the1960s that he brought into the American home: a brightly-coloured, enamel-coated kettle with a teak handle, and a telescoping, cube-shaped desk-light.
Lax was inspired by Scandinavian products, but had a sculptor's eye for material and shape. His products brought together a measure of modernist restraint with an organic feel that seemed distinctively American, drawing from the work of Russel Wright, Harry Bertoia and Charles and Ray Eames.
Lax's hands-on approach to design was legendary. Whereas an earlier generation of American designers sported bow ties and pencils, he was one of the few to be able to apologise for not coming to the phone because "I was up to my elbows in plaster". His refusal to adopt the emerging computer-aided design methods was as characteristic as his perfectionism.
Born in New York, his education in ceramics began in 1948 at a local tile and lamp manufacturer, followed by three years at New York State College of Ceramics. In 1954 he won a Fulbright Fellowship to Finland, where the influence of the architect Alvar Aalto was inspiring a wave of clean, organic modernist design. Returning to New York in 1958, Lax completed his apprenticeship with Russel Wright, who held that functionally simple, needs-based designs for the home improved peoples' lives.
Lax's first real break as a solo designer came when Samuel Farber, a friend he had met while taking his daughter to nursery school, announced that he was setting up a company, Copco. A 20-year collaboration, and a longer friendship, ensued. Lax developed a line of cast-iron and porcelain enamel cookware for the fledgling firm (at the time, an industry first), followed in 1962 by Copco's signature piece, a kettle, made of pressed sheet metal and porcelain enamel (subsequently available in orange, yellow, blue and olive) with a bent teak handle. The cheery, elegant, stove-top kettle without a whistle became a symbol of modern design; more than 1m were sold before it was discontinued in the mid-80s.
Fame did not follow, but a significant commission did. A friend at Lightolier, a firm founded at the turn of the century as the New York Gas Appliance Company, asked Lax to help the company capitalise on the craze for high-intensity lamps. The market leader, Tensor, used the latest low-voltage transformer technology in a miniature, if unsightly desktop unit with a bright white light. Lax and Lightolier went one better with a stylishly minimal alternative, pairing a cube base (which housed the transformer) with a ball reflector that extended on a telescopic arm. Named the Lytegem, it immediately captured 10% of the market and won a place in the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art. It was joined in the museum in 1972 by Lax's household air ioniser, which took the form of a simple black pyramid.
Lax's central preoccupation always remained the same: the formal, but loving, exploration of materials and shapes, aimed at bringing beauty to everyday objects - glasses and tableware for Mikasa and Rosenthal, containers for Tupperware, and even an acrylic bathtub for the American Cyanamid Company. He also diversified into exhibition and graphic design, as well as creating a wooden playset for children's playgrounds.
His design work was often inspired by his sculpture, which increasingly absorbed him from the mid-80s. He won the 1977 Rome Prize to study art at the American Academy in Rome, and returned to Italy in 1984 to work on a series of architectural forms in marble and cast bronze. A subsequent series of cast aluminum bowls for Metaal, a line made by the Grainware Company, were directly moulded from the breasts of a series of bronze nudes he had created.
As a craftsman, Lax was an arch-perfectionist. He invariably travelled to the countries where his products were being made, in order to oversee the manufacturing process, a habit which, in the early days of his work for Copco, meant carrying plaster models of his designs to Denmark. As computers became more prominent, he increasingly turned to sculpture, moving to Italy to study and work in bronze and marble.
Lax was known for his quick wit, charm and strikingly good looks. His marriage to Rosemary Raymond, begun in 1950, ended in divorce in 1978. He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca Lax, and his companion, Kirsten Childs, a New York interior designer.
Michael Lax, designer, born November 8, 1929; died May 28, 1999”

Comments

  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks bellin!
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks miKKo!
  3. lass lass, 2 years ago
    Beautiful design, my daughter collects and uses this type of kitchenware.
    Thanks for showing and giving such good info.
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks inky and lass too!
  5. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 2 years ago
    I love it!
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks austro!
  7. AmberRose AmberRose, 2 years ago
    So what is for dinner? Do you have a specialty?
    I saw a smaller version last winter but passed as it seemed super expensive for a SA and had a number of divots.
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    How about Lidia Bastianich's Ragu' alla Bolognese: Ricetta Antica ?
    http://theheatnyc.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/lidia-bastianichs-sunday-bolognese.html
  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks Budek!
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks hunter!
  11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 1 year ago
    Many thanks mustangT!
  12. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    Hello Kevin , I have one these in green from NACCO DESIGNED BY SIGVARD BERNATTOE.
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    This one?
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Vtg-Danish-NACCO-COPCO-Enameled-Cast-Iron-ORANGE-2Qt-Dutch-Oven-Denmark-c1960s-/360698054582
  14. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    N.A.Christensen, the danish foundry that produced for Copco, had the rights to sell the products in Europe under the Copco name (it often confused Danish people and fellow Europeans who thought that Copco was a Danish company and not a New York based one.)N.A. Christensen, also known as
    Morsø Jernstøberi is mostly known for it's wood stoves. They have been producing the "best in the world" since 1853. The AGA name is originally from Sweden and although it was not his main business Gustav Dalén developped the AGA cooking range that made the company known throughout the world. When the Swedish production of stoves was stopped the English license holder Glynwed International continued production.
    I ignore what the arrangements are right now, but it is obvious that NACCO is the acronyme for N.A.Christensen Co. and that the products are the same. Because of environmental legislation in Denmark, Morsø can not produce the strong primary colours, that made Copco known in the U.S., anymore. By the way, an important part of the collection is designed by Sigvard Bernadotte and not by Michael Lax.

    http://www.designaddict.com/design_addict/forums/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread_show_one/thread_id/11639/
  16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    So I suppose the question is "Sigvard Bernadotte or Michale Lax"?
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    http://pinterest.com/klmckearn/copco/
  18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    By the way, is your pot enamel inside or cast iron like mine?
  19. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    inside enamel and outside enamel.
  20. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    ill post if want to see it:)
  21. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!
  22. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 months ago
    Why not?
    The comparison is probably important.
    Has it been claimed by the Americans as a design by Michael Lax 'unjustly'?
  23. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 months ago
    Your so right !!!!

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