Tias Eckhoff (1926 – 2016) was a well-known industrial designer in Norway. His production was constrained, but many of his products have endured as timeless design classics. In addition to the design of RBM Ana, RBM Bella, and Low-back Bella, he was also responsible for the famous Maya cutlery and Glohane tableware, to name a few of the solid works that are well-established in Norwegian design history.
Between 1947 – 1948 he trained in ceramics at Saxbo, Copenhagen, under Nathalie Krebs. In 1949 he graduated from Statens Håndverks -og Kunstindustriskole, Olso.
He began working as a designer at Porsgrunns Porselaensfabrik (Norway) in 1949 and served as its artistic director from 1953 to 1960. He designed for Georg Jensen (silver), Dansk Knivfabrik (cutlery), Halden Aluminumvarefabrik, and Norsk Stalpress in the 1950s (metalware). Porsgrunns achieved great success as a result of his Triennale di Milano awards. In 1957, while still working as a consultant designer for the firm, he established his design studio. He worked as a design consultant for Trio-Ving in Oslo, Ludtofte Design in Copenhagen, and Norsk Stalpress in Bergen.
He is best known for his work on Georg Jensen’s popular Cypress flatware pattern from 1953. His metalsmithing career began with a Jensen award for his Cypress pattern; he later designed stainless-steel flatware Fuga and Opus for Dansk and 1961 Maya for Norsk.
Eckhoff expanded beyond cutlery and ceramics in the late twentieth century, following experiments with plastic technology, to produce a small furniture design. Eckhoff’s furniture work, particularly his moulded stacking chairs Ana (1980) and Tomi (1983), appealed for their simplicity, comfort, and great functionality, much like the plastic forms modernists Charles & Ray Eames and fellow Norwegian Sven Ivar Dysthe.
Cypress flatware won an inter-Scandinavian design competition sponsored by Georg Jensen to commemorate the company’s 50th anniversary in 1953. Received prizes at the Triennali di Milano in 1954 (X) (two gold medals), 1957 (XI) (two gold medals), and 1960 (XII) (gold medal); 1962, 1965, and 1966 emblems for good Norwegian design, Norwegian Design Centre; 1953 Lunning Prize (with Henning Koppel).
He is represented in several museums, including New York’s MOMA and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Ana, a stacking chair designed by Eckhoff for RBM in 1980, has been produced in millions of copies. Eckhoff’s other successful products include the Maya Cutlery (1962) for Norstaal (now Stelton) and keys for TrioVing.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.
Tias Eckhoff Online Shop: Shop Furniture/Lighting/Design at PAMONO. pamono.co.uk. (n.d.). https://www.pamono.co.uk/designers/tias-eckhoff.
Tias Eckhoff. Flokk. (n.d.). https://www.flokk.com/global/designers/tias-eckhoff.
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