Simon Gate (1883 – 1945) Swedish artisan and designer

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Simon Gate featured image
Simon Gate featured image

Artistic director of Orrefors glassworks, Sweden

Simon Gate (1883 – 1945) a Swedish artisan and designer. Gate was born in S. Fagelas, Skaraborg, Sweden, the son of a farmer. 

Education

He studied at the National College of Art, Craft, and Design in Stockholm in the early twentieth century. From around 1909 at the Royal Swedish Academy Art School, also in Stockholm.

Biography

Gate began his long affiliation with the Swedish glassmaking firm Orrefors in 1916. He worked as an artistic director and built the firm foundation for Sweden’sSweden’s substantial modern glass industry, alongside Edvard Hald, Vicke Lindstrand, Knut Bergqvist, and others. Gate designed a wide range of utilitarian and decorative glass during his three decades at Orrefors, including delicate goblets in soft hues (these and other functional wares were often made at Orrefors’Orrefors’ Sandvik subsidiary); plain, heavy-walled vases and bowls; and handsome exhibition pieces crisply engraved with art deco style neo-classical figures.

  • Slöjdansen' glass bowl with stand, Orrefors, Sweden 1926 designed by Simon Gate
  • Swedish Grace engraved "Bacchus" bowl, Orrefors, Sweden 1926, engraved by Arthur Diessner designed Simon Gate

Graal technique

The sophisticated Graal technique was invented around 1920 by Gate, Hald, and master glassblower Knut Bergqvist (the term is related to “Holy Grail” and relates to its elusive properties). Graal art glass was created by encasing a thick core of transparent glass with a thin coloured coating that was then cut away to reveal a design surrounded by the clear “background.” The vessel was heated again to give it a smoother, more “liquid” appearance, following which it was encased in yet another layer of clear glass and blown into its final shape. Internal ornamentation of flowers or human figures were typical on these Graal sculptures, which were often multicoloured.

Recognition

Gate won a Grand Prix at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. His designs are in the collections of major museums.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Dormer, P. (1999). The illustrated dictionary of twentieth century designers: the key personalities in design and the applied arts. Greenwich Ed.

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