Cylinda Line

Cylinda Line
Made in stainless steel and with shapes based on standardized steel tubes, Cylinda Line offered a modern and functional alternative to traditional silverware when it was launched in 1967.
Arne Jacobsen
Coffee pot. Photo: Stjernegaard Fotografi.

The applied art series Cylinda Line from 1967 was motivated by the ambition of producing a functional modern alternative to traditional silver tableware. Based on the high-precision aesthetic of industrial production, Arne Jacobsen developed an original service in stainless steel in partnership with the manufacturer Stelton. Ever since, the series has been widely recognized as an iconic industrial design.

Cylinda Line’s taut, geometric expression is characteristic of Arne Jacobsen’s work during the 1960s, when he moved away from the free, organic forms that characterize his furniture from the 1950s and instead embraced an expression based on repetition and basic geometric shapes. While few of the furniture designs Arne Jacobsen created based on these principles attained the status of design classics, Cylinda Line earned an instant place in design history. Immediately after the launch, the series was awarded the Danish Design Council’s ID Prize, and it since went on to receive many international awards.

Arne Jacobsen's sketch of the Cylinda Line coffee pot. Photo: Royal Danish Library - Danish National Art Library.

In the mid 1960s, Peter Holmblad, CEO of Stelton and the son of Jonna Jacobsen, was able to engage Arne Jacobsen in the development of a design concept for stainless-steel hollowware. Originally, the design was to be based on standardized steel tubes, and even though this concept eventually had to be abandoned, Cylinda Line maintained its cylindrical shape and stringent appearance. The development of technical solutions aiming to minimize production costs while still satisfying Arne Jacobsen’s high standards for form and aesthetics was no small challenge. Peter Holmblad explains that the process lasted three years and involved both physical models, created at the factory, and quick sketches drawn on a napkin at the dinner table.

‘… those were tough years’, he explains. ‘A constant interplay of technical and factory capabilities on the one hand and Arne’s ideas on the other, which were not captured at the drawing table but more often quickly sketched on a napkin at the dinner table and then further explored in models.’

Cylinda Line
Manufactured by
Cylinda Line in Arne Jacobsen's modular house Kubeflex. Photo: Stjernegaard Fotografi / Trapholt.

Originally, the design was to be based on standardized steel tubes, and even though this concept eventually had to be abandoned, Cylinda Line maintained its cylindrical shape and stringent appearance.

Cocktail shaker, martini mixer and ice bucket. Photo: Stjernegaard Fotografi.

The dedication to industrial materials and a rational, geometric expression connects Cylinda Line to the ideas that were flourishing at the experimental Bauhaus school in Germany during the interwar years. In cooperation with Stelton, Arne Jacobsen manifested some of these ideas in a contemporary context. When Cylinda Line was launched in Denmark, in 1967, the series had a distinctly modern and international expression compared to traditional silver tableware. This was further underscored by PR photos where the items were styled to resemble the Manhattan skyline as well as the inclusion of a cocktail shaker, a martini mixer and an ice bucket in addition to the classic items of a coffee pot and a teapot.


Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Arne Jacobsen’s drawings. The collection of architectural drawings, The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / Stenum Poulsen, K., Skaarup Larsen, A., & Staunsager, S. (2020). Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark. Kolding: Trapholt.  / Thau, C., & Vindum, K. (1998). Arne Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press. / Tøjner, P. E., & Vindum, K. (1994). Arne Jacobsen: arkitekt & designer. Copenhagen: Dansk Design Center.

Cylinda Line styled to resemble the Manhattan skyline, 1960s. Photo: Stelton
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