My visit to Jacob Jensen - THE Danish (watch) designer (long and many pictures)
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    Picture My visit to Jacob Jensen - THE Danish (watch) designer (long and many pictures)

    Last August 21st I flew to Denmark to visit the Jacob Jensen Studio and the Jacob Jensen House. I was invited by Harry Wijnschenk, CEO of Watch This Agency to come along on this exclusive trip organized by the S Weisz Uurwerken Company.

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    S Weisz is the manufacturer and world wide distributor of Danish Design and Jacob Jensen watches, clocks and jewelry. Danish Design is S Weisz' own brand, where Jacob Jensen has trusted S Weisz with the production and world wide distribution of their products.
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    Let me start this report by the beginning, a train station in the south of The Netherlands, early Wednesday morning. There is a direct connection to Amsterdam Airport and being in First Class the traveling was comfortable and quiet. Unfortunately there was no coffee in the train. The Dutch train company must have cancelled the service due to the bad economic circumstances, I don't know.


    Fyra train between Breda and Amsterdam.

    After arriving at Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) I took the bus to Schiphol-Oost where the Jet Terminal is located. I had never been there, nor did I travel by private jet before. So it was quite an experience, and most comfortable.

    In the lounge I met with my 5 companions, all being editors-in-chief for well known Dutch magazines. One of them was Lex Stolk, international editor-in-chief of 0024 Horloges and 0024 WatchWorld. I had met Lex on several other occasions and know him for many years. He's the one on the very right of the following picture (with yours truly in the middle):


    The jet is a Piaggio Avanti with space for 2 pilots and 6 passengers.



    Before I left I did some research for Jacob Jensen and learned some things I already knew (Bang & Olufsen design, Jacob Jensen watches), and some new things. An example of one of the things I didn't know was that they designed chairs for another Danish company called Labofa. On a side note, and this is quite a coincidence, the director of my school (I'm a team-leader there, my 2nd full time job ..) and I decided to buy the chairs of Labofa for all our pupils and teachers two years ago when we renovated our school building. I didn't know Jacob Jensen designed those chairs. It's a small world after all.

    Back to the trip. We landed at Karup Airport in the north of Denmark. It's a small airport, half military, half public and at the time we were there, we seemed to be the only guests.



    We were picked up by a Limo van and drove for about an hour to Hojslev, where the Jacob Jensen headquarter is located.



    We were warmly welcomed by Timothy Jacob Jensen (the man in the mirror), son of the founder, Jacob Jensen and currently holding the position of CEO and chief designer.

    "Industrial designer Jacob Jensen founded his studio in 1958 and over the following decades developed the form language that changed our view of how Hi-Fi systems, telephones, watches and many other products can look. The contribution made him one of the most recognised designers with a vast number of prizes and exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

    In terms of design history, he gained importance because his groundbreaking form unites two mainstreams of 20th century design. On the one hand, the European Bauhaus-tradition with its minimalist "Less is more" and its modernist "Form follows function". On the other hand, the American design icon Raymond Loewys consumer-oriented MAYA-principle: Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. Jacob Jensens international style comprises of the fact that he creates an ultra-modern minimalist form language with a very high audience appeal.

    Timothy Jacob Jensen began his apprenticeship with his father in 1978, where he designed the first products under the JACOB JENSEN trademark, namely the Classic 510/520 watches. They were included in the design study collection at MoMA and were awarded Watch of the Year in 1986. The watches are still in production today.


    The Classic watches are far from the only internationally awarded products of Timothy Jacob Jensen. Since the generation change in 1990, Timothy Jacob Jensen established the JACOB JENSEN trademark and clarified the universal potential of the form language by expanding it into many new product areas. In addition to watches and telephones, other JACOB JENSEN products include eyewear, timers, weather stations, smoke alarms and entire ......... This contribution, which may be understood as a far reaching creative challenge of the form language, has kept the studio at a high, internationally prize-winning level.

    Through their common form language, Jacob Jensen and Timothy Jacob Jensen prove that the mass produced products which surround our daily life, can be sympathetic towards us. They can stand in our living rooms, ........ and bathrooms and communicate a wealth of ideas, humour, elegance and pleasure in use. They can be gifts of quiet and simplicity. They can be a pleasure to use and live with on a daily basis.

    The two generations of Jensen live in peaceful surroundings. Since 1966, the Jacob Jensen Design studio has been located at an isolated spot of scenic beauty with a panoramic view of the Limfjord in Northern Jutland, Denmark. A Korean customer once said: you work holiday place. That is true. The surroundings of the studio are tremendously beautiful, and many people feel that the distant horizon and simple contrasts of the fjord are directly perceived in the design.

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    The serenity of the Jensen form language is not due to the fjord alone. It is a well thought-out whole, comprising of distance, closeness and use.

    - Distance: A simple, streamlined and ultramodern form combined with contrasts of light and dark. It is the part of the form language which is primarily associated with Jacob Jensen, so homogenous that people all over the world recognise a Jacob Jensen design from a distance.
    - Closeness: Aesthetically thought-out details, both in the design of the three-dimensional and the graphic elements. Especially the attention to detail allows Jacob Jensens quality-consciousness and roots in Danish design tradition to shine through.
    - Use: User-friendliness in a simple and clear form, but not only that; many products feature surprising ideas which appear when they are touched. A point may begin to pulsate, a door may open in meditative slow motion, an unexpected interface may appear. There is a seductive gift included.

    With its stylistically consistent mixture of sense and seduction, Jacob Jensens form language has proved to be unusually enduring and universal. It has survived the changing trends of fifty years. It has grown and spread to new product areas and cultures, and the JACOB JENSEN brand is now represented in over 30 countries. With its pure contrasts, simple effects and serene user interface, JACOB JENSEN is a language pointing far into the future."



    Interior of the House of Jacob Jensen. View towards the design department. ....... design for Gaggenau.


    And the view of the other part: the Jacob Jensen Museum.

    Meanwhile Kristian Haagen had arrived from Copenhagen, a 5 hour drive. Kristian is a timegeek, blogger and journalist for 0024 WatchWorld. He's also a good friend, like Lex.


    Nice overview of the House of Jacob Jensen.

    Like I wrote in the beginning of this report, I knew Jacob Jensen from their watches and Bang & Olufsen designs:



    "The first product to bear the brand JACOB JENSEN™ was a wrist watch. Shortly after its introduction on the market it was included into the Design Study Collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.


    That is more than 25 years ago. The JACOB JENSEN™ 510 and 520 watch is still in production today and its enduring character continues to attract appeal.

    The range of JACOB JENSEN™ products currently includes collections of watches and clocks, telephones, weather station displays, jewellery, a timer and timer clock series, a wake up clock series, a smoke alarm, scale, a bottle opener, spectacles, ........ and elements for bathrooms. Further products are constantly under development."


    Watches on Timothy's desk.


    Iconic Bang & Olufsen design.

    But what I didn't know was they design coffins! This collection was made for a Danish undertaker. The coffin is called "diamond" or "Diamant" in Danish:




    Inside the black diamond lies a sculpture of Jacob Jensen, the founder. Tim explained us they didn't know where to put it .. The man has great humor as turned out during the whole tour he gave us.

    One of the anecdotes he told us was about the roundabouts he designed for the local community. He told us he got a phone call from the major and was asked to design 11 roundabouts. When he talked about this to his father and asked for his advise, he was told "make them square"

    Obviously he didn't and when approaching the premises of Jacob Jensen one drives around all 11 of them. The scaled versions are in the museum:


    "Chief designer Timothy Jacob Jensen beat everybody by several space ship lengths when a city in Northern Jutland in Denmark unveiled 11 gigantic designer sculptures. There is a castle, a square, and a crash-landed space ship, a paraphrase of the sun, approx. 250 tonnes of granite and stainless steel, 30, 000 pieces of gold an much, much more. Jacob Jensen Design, creator of the form language of BANG & OLUFSEN and Gaggenau, has erected an expressive monument that will resound all over the world. The famous author Tor Nørretranders delivered the chief speech to th city of Skive and to Jacob Jensen."

    Another part of the House of Jacob Jensen interior:



    Lunch time.


    Relaxing after lunch outside the House of Jacob Jensen.


    Next we had a nice walk to Jacob Jensen Design, the house where the design studio is (prohibited area for obvious reasons) and where Timothy actually lives in.





    I already told you Timothy is a man with a great humor. It was (no) surprise to suddenly see this giant elephant in the woods of his domain. It's plastic by the way



    Coming out of the woods we had a great view over the Limfjord:




    360 at the Jacob Jensen Design studio and house


    Timothy's office.


    I didn't ask Tim about this old Westclox clock which he has on a shelf in his office. don't know if it still runs, but the crystal is broken alright.

    The interior and decoration of the house is typical Danish:



    With all the many products Jacob Jensen designed I was glad to finally see one of their watches again, although being a print in a book:



    After a lecture Timothy gave us about the history, the vision and the future of Jacob Jensen it was time to leave and head back to the airport. No doubt this has been one of my most relaxing and interesting experiences. I would like to thank S Weisz Uurwerken and 0024 Horloges/WatchWorld for their kind invitation and making this a great ride. I'd also like to thank Timothy for his warm welcome and kind hospitality. I wish you best of luck in your new (ad)ventures to help build new studios in what you called "2nd world countries" and to give local design students the opportunity to learn from you and build a better future. For those who are interested, Jacob Jensen studios are planned to open in India, Thailand, South Africa and Mexico. Jacob Jensen already has a design studio in Shanghai. Last but not least I would like to thank my accompanies for the trip. I had a great time with you all.

    Allow me to end my report with an "on the wrist". This award winning Jacob Jensen Eclipse was worn by Annet Hoveling who works at 0024 Horloges/WatchWorld from the very start:



    Visit the S Weisz Uurwerken BV website
    Visit the 0024 Horloges and 0024 WatchWorld website
    Visit the Jacob Jensen website
    Last edited by Ernie Romers; September 3rd, 2013 at 14:59.
    Harrison_Grant likes this.
    Best regards,

    Ernie Romers
    Founder and former site owner, Hidden Content

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