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Design Icon: Cathrineholm Lotus Enamelware

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge | Design Icon:  Cathrineholm Lotus Enamelware

Design: Lotus Enamelware

Designer: Forms and colors by Grete Prytz Kittelsen. Lotus pattern attributed to Arne Clausen.

Year: ca. 1962

Country of Origin: Norway

Materials: Enamel on steel.

Background: Although these pieces fit in marvelously with the explosive color of postwar Atomic America, these iconic designs actually hail from the Cathrineholm factory of Norway, produced roughly between 1963 and 1965. One of a few collections helmed by noted designer Grete Prytz Kittelsen, the “Lotus” series contains some of the most recognizable pieces of midcentury kitchenware, and certainly the most famous pieces to come out of the Cathrineholm factory. Although Grete Prytz Kittelsen is oftentimes cited as the sole designer of the Lotus series, she was in fact only responsible for its forms and colors. Another Cathrineholm employee, Arne Clausen, is believed to have come up with the Lotus design. This is worth noting because, as it so happens, Grete detested the lotus pattern, claiming that it detracted from the overall design. “I didn’t like these dishes at all,” she is reported to have said. “Using a lotus design to make a flower ruins the plates, in my opinion.  My basic view is that dishes and plates look best in a single color.” Despite Grete’s disdain for it, however, the pattern proved to be wildly successful and continues to be a huge collector’s item to this day.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.


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  • Loved my enameled lotus bowl. I had a set of six that my college boyfriend bought me. Then all but one got stolen when someone broke into my U-Haul when I was moving. Now I have one black and white bowl next to my front door that I put my keys in. What a simple, chic, funky design. It’s masculine and feminine.

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