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Jørgen Gammelgaard (1938 – 1991) was a Danish cabinetmaker, industrial designer and professor at the Royal Academy's Department of Furniture and Spatial Art. His most famous work include the TipTop and VIP lamps, and the Skagen chair.


His early years

Gammelgaard was trained as a cabinetmaker at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts and served an apprenticeship in 1957 at C. B. Hansen's workshop in Copenhagen. He then studied under Grete Jalk. He was a visiting student of furniture design at the Royal Academy in 1962 to 1964 working for Poul Kjærholm and Ole Wanscher.

United Nations and the history of the TipTop pendant

Gammelgaard worked as a cabinetmaker with A. J. Iversen in 1957 to 1959 and, after studying at the Royal Academy, in Arne Jacobsen's studio in 1968 to1969. While working with Mogens Koch, Steen Eiler Rasmussen and Jørgen Bo, he undertook consultancy work for the United Nations in Somoa, where he designed his famous Tip-Top lampshade. Jørgen Gammelgaard had during his stay as a consultant to the UN, a simple fluorescent lamp as the only light. The task to get a better quality of light, was solved by the lamp was put upright and was fitted with a variety of cut plastic lids. This was the inspiration for the TipTop light that immediately after his presentation was bought by the Danish Arts Foundation.

This was followed later by work in Ceylon and Sudan. In 1973, he established his own business. In 1987, when he was only 49, he was appointed professor at the Royal Academy's Department of Furniture and Spatial Art.

Furniture, lighting and silver for Georg Jensen

His notable designs range from silverware for Georg Jensen to fixtures for the Copenhangen University's Life Sciences department and for Rødovre Library as well as the Tip-Top and VIP lamp series. His simple but refined furniture, mostly in natural materials and stainless steel, includes a folding stool for Design Forum, a crest rail chair and steel tube chair for Collection Schiang and the EJ20 sofa for Erik Jørgensen. Both his Crestrail chairs, with their semicircular back, and the Skagen Chair, developed with Børge Schiang in the early 1980s are still in production.

Jørgen Gammelgaard was the first designer to receive the annual awards from both the Danish Design Council in 1986 and The Council for Arts and Crafts in 1991.


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