Jens Ivan Christoffersen (1928-2013) trained as an engineer and carpenter. He created wooden designs, furniture and toys under the name J.I. Christoffersen.
He lived an exciting life, throwing himself enthusiastically into a wealth of projects. Parallel to his work as a designer, he cultivated a lifelong love of air travel. He single-handedly reconstructed a glider from World War II.
The cold Antarctic seas inspired one of J.I. Christoffersen’s most celebrated pieces, the Salt Penguin.
Wood as medium
Jens Ivan Christoffersen loved working with wood and watching his concepts emerge.
This was based on his background as a carpenter and construction engineer. But he also had the opinion that timber possesses its own wonderful structure and colour. It simply lends itself well to forming objects both large and small.
Wood became J.I. Christoffersen's metier. His efforts includes toys, building renovations and getting a wooden glider into the skies again.
“Great design is like the scent of a flower”
For J.I. Christoffersen, great design delighted the eye – and could be used in everyday life.
He frequently said: “Great design is like the scent of a flower”. And a fragrant flower arises when design meets usability and great craftsmanship.
According to J.I. Christoffersen, Hans J. Wegner's furniture, Poul Henningsen's iconic PH lamps and Kay Bojesen's wooden figures fulfilled those demands. They unified the useable with the practical, were high quality and delighted the eye all at once.
Design inspired by everyday life
J.I. Christoffersen drew inspiration from the wishes of others. He loved to solve functional challenges.
This might be when his wife wished for a new lamp. Or creating a companion to Tonn-P's Pepper Bird, which always stood on the dining table at home.
J.I. Christoffersen reckoned that the Pepper Bird lacked a worthy salt companion. And after watching a TV broadcast about penguins, the idea of the Salt Penguin arose.
The idea became reality. From then on, the Salt Penguin and Pepper Bird were a virtually inseparable pair in Danish design.