A very special birthday!

A gift for a very special occasion. Kay Bojesen's Monkey was born in 1951. This version is a large personality measuring 46 cm in height. Like its younger brother, this Monkey holds a special appeal for both children and adults. For christenings, birthdays, school leavers and weddings. The Monkey is a classic and a dear friend for life – from being a popular toy in the playroom to a much-loved design icon in a future home.

Silversmith and designer Kay Bojesen (1886-1958) could do something very special. He could bring wood to life! And he became world famous for creating wooden animals with souls, humour and a twinkle in their eyes. The best known of these is his monkey, with its lively, friendly way of looking at you. It spreads joy, and inspires playfulness, stories and the emotions in both children and grown-ups. From heavily ornamented to pure, clean lines Kay Bojesen was born in 1886. It was a time marked by tassels, art deco and art nouveau. And Kay Bojesen began his career in keeping with these design traditions. He was apprenticed as a silversmith to Georg Jensen in 1910, winning early recognition. Although he embraced the art nouveau style – a Danish parallel to Jugendstil – Kay Bojesen launched an attack on that same style just a few years later in 1928. Writing about the popular hammered silver, Kay Bojesen commented: “Product misrepresentation and confusion of terms. Pestilence and feigned craftsmanship”. With that, he took definitive leave of the ornamented cornucopia of the art nouveau style. He replaced it with functionalism and the pure, modernist expression seen in his family of toy animals.

From silversmith to toy designer Kay Bojesen debuted as a toy designer in 1922, presenting a ship and a dragoon on horseback in clear, beautiful colours. From here, the tone was set. Who would have guessed that the silversmith would turn toy designer? The difference couldn’t almost be greater. In hindsight, however, it makes perfect sense that this vibrant man whose head was bubbling with ideas felt at ease in the universe of toys. He had found his calling. It is said that he didn’t take himself too seriously. But the work itself? Now that was something he respected! With his toys, Kay Bojesen stimulated good play habits and encouraged children’s imaginations. When the animals first appeared in the Bredgade store in 1932, the designs were new and unlike anything seen before. Today, they are Danish design classics with icon status at the same level as the PH lamps, the Egg chair and the Margrethe bowl.

A modern, engaged man Although Kay Bojesen moved in a child’s universe, he was also a man who kept up with the times and got involved. He wanted to make a difference not just for children and the childlike, but also for Danish Design – its development and quality. A prominent example of this engagement was when he took the initiative to start Den Permanente (The Permanent Exhibition) – an exhibition for the Danish Arts and Crafts and Industrial Design association. Up until its closure in 1981, Den Permanente was the foremost gathering place for the latest in Danish Design. Happy birthday for the infamous Kay Bojsen's wooden Monkey! Explore the wonderful world of Kaj Bojesen's designs by Rosendahl online