In the early 1960s, my parents fell head over heels for Danish Modern and ditched the repro furniture they bought when they first married. We were then living in a small Canadian town and had just moved into a new house that a local architect had designed to my father’s specification. (Not to my mother’s: the kitchen was minute.)
Chairs by Nanna Ditzel. Chairs by Hans Wegner. Chairs and lights by Arne Jacobsen. Teak dining and occasional tables. A man came from Montreal to assemble the furniture and his black beard, in those clean-shaven, crew-cut days, intrigued and frightened us kids – only bad guys looked like that.
Along with the furniture, my father bought homewares. A Wilhelm Wagenfeld salt shaker and pepper grinder, a Dansk coffee pot with a ridged middle band to insulate your fingers…and this Quistgaard Kobenstyle paella pan.
We never knew it was a paella pan. We had never heard of paella. My mother used it to cook something called ‘spaghettini bake’ (which was delicious). Years later, I’m still using the pan almost every week. And it’s almost as good as new, except for a few dings in the enamel.
I never knew the design was by Jens Quistgaard, until I was researching my book Scandinavian Modern Home. Quistgaard, who died in 2008 at the age of 89, was incredibly prolific and carried on working well into his eighties.
His work looks to share the same longevity. Handling a design like this every week gives you enormous pleasure.