the Biennale - community through the ritual of the dining table


Providing food for family and friends at large gatherings for long meals is still a strong ritual in Danish life so it is hardly surprising that the table and the setting of the food and ceramics and glass vessels made for food are such a strong thread through Danish design and craft.

Grå hverdag / Grey Everyday by the ceramicist and designer Ole Jensen has, what appear to be, utilitarian bowls and jugs and plates that are set on a simple and robust table and all - the vessels and the table - are in a soft grey tone so the effect is haunting.

The work shows that colour can be a distraction and the pinched-clay technique of the works gives the forms of the vessels a softness and slight but important irregularity.

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design


In their work Hverdagsceremoni / Ceremony of the everyday, the ceramicist Sarah Oakman and the glass designer Maj-Britt Zelmer Olsen explore the idea that as resources, including food, become scarce then the amount eaten might be restricted and then the ceremony of eating and the careful presentation of small quantities of food could become more significant in much the same way that, in the past, precious spices and even tea, when it was first imported, or cooking salt in poorer communities were kept in special containers and used with care and deference.

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design


In Appearance Contemporary Centerpieces the ceramicist Signe Fensholt suggests that "A meal can be a stage for a social performance. A shared meal may indicate a relationship or mark the closing of a deal … In a shared meal, the basic need for food becomes a way to build a bond and a sense of community."

Here the centrepiece in stoneware is an exploration of organic forms and textures in clay.

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design


Mønster I Striber - fra bord til væg / Pattern in Stripes - from table to wall

by textile designer Bitten Hegelund


For setting a good table, fine linen is still used in Danish dining rooms and here the table cloth - and a variation of the pattern used for a vertical hanging - take on the formality of a tester and link these modern textiles back, at least in part, to the canopies and tapestries that wealthy households in mediaeval and 16th-century Denmark used to indicate their status when they were entertaining guests at formal meals.

The hanging system was designed by the architect Uffe Black

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design