Bjørn Engø


Bjørn Engø

Bjørn Engø ( 19. sept. 1920, 2. feb. 1981 ) was a Norwegian Interior architect, designer and enamel artist.

Bjorn Engo is particularly known for its enamel work as well for its mass-produced bowls and plates for Anodizing Company Emalox in the 1950s, than for his own workshop larger decorative works from later years. In his furniture production Engø began to use steel and aluminum very early in contradiction with the traditional Norwegian materials trends.

Bjørn Engø grew up in Bygdøy near Oslo. After school graduation in 1939 and examinations at Oslo Handelsgymnasium he took the diploma exams as an interior designer at the National Academy of Arts in 1946. Two years later he established his own practice in Oslo. There, he took assignments as a designer for Gustav Bahus Eftf. A / S, Emalox, Arnold Wiig Factories and Sandvika Veveri. He was also a very popular exhibition architect, and was responsible for, the Norwegian ID department at the Triennale in Milan in 1957.

Engo started his career as a furniture designer. Already in 1947 he was recognized as a new name in Norwegian furniture design with furniture that opposed the use of traditional Norwegian materials. His idiom followed modern, international style ideals, and he preferred enameled steel and aluminum over wood.

With a background in functionalism and his modernist ideals was Engø predestined to design larger series of relatively cheap products. 

He drew printed decoration fabrics for Sandvika Veveri and for Arnold Wiig Factories he designed lighting fixtures and lamps in brass and iron.

Yet it was his design work for Emalox that made him a public figur in Norway. His bowls, vases and ashtrays in anodized aluminum where from popular from the first years of production in the 1950s. With there simple shapes in modern, bright colors they were adapted to both the productive apparatus and the general functional requirements of a modern Norway.

In his own workshop he began in 1953 to experiment with more exclusive enamel pieces. He developed his own technique and created unique items in enamel on copper. With his dishes and trays in Copper he established himself as one of the most innovative artists in Norway. The simple copper molds were machine made, while the decorating and enamel work were performed by Engø´s own workshop. Copper surfaces were engraved with individual patterns the “glaze” often got a three-dimensional feel because of the many layers of enamel and the use of dividing wire, copper wire and nails. Engo experimented with opaque transparent enamels and lively colors.

From the beginning of the 1960s Engø worked increasingly in larger formats. He created large decorative works in metal and enamel. In the later years it appears that enamel paintings became his main interest, although he continued to make bowls and vases with a personal abstract decoration.

Bjørn Engø participated in many exhibitions at home and abroad. He sold also to three Norwegian decorative arts museums, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris and the Melbourne Museum. He has also conducted several interior decorations, including Stavanger Sparekasse, Tonsberg Machinist school, SAS hotels in Copenhagen and Bodø and General Motors in Oslo.

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