A short history of Kosta Boda

Kosta: A short History

Kosta glasbruk was founded in 1741 and is one of the world’s oldest, still operating glassworks. The name Kosta was derived using the first letters from the names of the two founders of the glassworks: Anders Koskull and Georg Bogislaus Staël von Holstein. It is thought that among the initial workers, there were quite a few glassblowers from Thuringia which brought their knowledge and experience with them. Over the years, Kosta became Sweden´s leading glassworks and manufactured all types of glass, from simple bottles to luxury drinking glasses.

The 1897 General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm

After the 1897 Allmänna Konst- och Industriutställningen, Kosta hired Gunnar Gunnarson Wennerberg whose art nouveau art glass firmly established Kosta’s international reputation for art glass. They also decided to contact artists such as Edvin Oller and Lennart Nyblom (both painters) to see if they could get them to design glass for them. The reason for this step was the fact that the international critics were not at all impressed with the glass on display at the exhibition. In contrast to Orrefors, the artist and designers only worked for short periods of time for Kosta. Notable exceptions are Sven-Erik Skawonius who in total worked almost ten years (1933-1935 and 1944-1950) with Kosta and Elis Bergh who stayed for 21 years (1929-1950) with Kosta.

Vicke Lindstrand at Kosta

Elis Berg started as a designer and became the artistic director at Kosta. In 1950 he left Kosta and was succeeded by Vicke Lindstrand who had worked at Orrefors until 1940 and in the intervening period with Uppsala-Ekeby, a ceramics manufacturer. The reason for Lindstrand’s 10 year intermezzo at Uppsala-Ekeby was a non-competition agreement in his contract with Orrefors. After being absent from the glass industry for 10 years, he was allowed to work again with the medium he loved most: glass.

Ten years of frustration explode

For ten years, Lindstrand was not able to work with glass and when he started to work at Kosta, he had a creative explosion which was fuelled by ten years of frustration due to not being able to work with glass. Lindstrand designed all kinds of glass using a range of different techniques and thereby firmly established a reputation for Kosta in the art glass market.

Mona Morales Schildt

Mona Morales-Schildt joined Kosta in 1958. She stayed for 12 years, until 1970. She previously had worked in Ceramics and also with Paolo Venini of the Murano glassworks. She brought a new type of design to Kosta – thickly layered and multi-faceted. Best-known examples of her work are the Ventana series. On the right you can see a rare bowl by Mona Morales-Schildt for KostaBoda.

Kosta Boda today

In 1976 the glassworks of Kosta, Boda and Åfors merged to form Kosta Boda AB. This was a reaction to the changed economic climate at the time. In 1989, Kosta Boda and Orrefors merged to form Orrefors Kosta Boda AB. They now include a whole range of glassworks. From their merger onward, the newly formed Orrefors Kosta Boda glassworks decided to stop produce older, well-known designs like the fish-graal vases and to only focus on designs from contemporary designers. 

In 2005 the glassworks were sold to New Wave Group, a stock market listed company that focuses on lifestyle and design.