Design: Cubic Coffee Service
Designer: Erik Magnussen (Danish, 1884-1961)
Country of Origin: United States
Materials: Silver with gilding and ivory
Background: Not to be confused with the contemporary designer of the same name, Erik Magnussen was a Danish-born metalsmith working largely in America at the beginning of the twentieth century. Not formally trained, but raised in a highly intellectual atmosphere, Magnussen used avant garde art and the aesthetic zeitgeists of his time to inform much of his work. Produced for the Gorham Manufacturing Company in 1927, this set drew its inspiration from the cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, hence its name. Intended to reflect a certain American sense of modernity, the multifaceted forms of this design seem to reference the Art Deco skyscrapers springing up throughout the nation’s cities at the time, a glitzy and decadent tribute to opulence of the Jazz Age.
Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg