Glass act:

The de­signer of the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test tro­phy has his first UK solo show this month, in Nor­wich

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS: Stephanie Potts

Swe­den’s glass art mas­ter on show in Nor­wich

On the even­ing of May 18, as around 200 mil­lion peo­ple around the world tune in to watch the fi­nal of the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test, the Swedish de­signer of that cov­eted, iconic glass tro­phy will be in Nor­wich for the open­ing of his first ma­jor UK solo ex­hi­bi­tion, at Gallery in the Lanes, Bed­ford Street.

Kjell Eng­man, now in his 70s and a leg­endary fig­ure within the world of art glass col­lect­ing, was com­mis­sioned to de­sign the

Euro­vi­sion tro­phy in 2008. Made from solid, clear glass in the style of a clas­sic mi­cro­phone, it is re­made each year with the name of the host city.

A sec­ond ‘back-up’ tro­phy is also made and stored in a vault, just in case any­thing hap­pens to the first one. “I love de­sign­ing tro­phies,” he says. “It cre­ates a tan­gi­ble memory to a spe­cial mo­ment.”

But tro­phies are just a small part of Eng­man’s pro­lific out­put. As an artist at Kosta Boda, one of the world’s lead­ing brands of glass­ware and art glass, he has the freedom to cre­ate what­ever he wishes. Still tire­lessly pro­duc­tive, with un­bounded imag­i­na­tion and a pas­sion for nar­ra­tive, Eng­man’s style is dis­tinc­tive and im­me­di­ately recog­nis­able.

If you thought all Swedish de­sign was sim­ple, func­tional and min­i­mal, this ex­hi­bi­tion will make you think again. Fig­u­ra­tive, fan­tas­ti­cal and fre­quently witty, us­ing bold and bright colours,

Eng­man’s art work is as far re­moved from our ideas about Scan­di­na­vian style as you can imag­ine.

His in­spi­ra­tion comes from the nat­u­ral world and his love of mu­sic. “I like to make glass you can feel, glass that ap­peals to all of our senses and tries to make use of re­frac­tion and light,” he says. “I want my art to paint pic­tures and tell sto­ries all at the same time.”

Some­thing of a rock n’ roll fig­ure who plays guitar in a band and still en­joys rid­ing around on his mo­tor­bike, Eng­man has a rep­u­ta­tion as one of Swe­den’s most out­stand­ing artists work­ing in glass. His work is col­lected world-wide – Bob Hope and Prince were col­lec­tors – and he has cre­ated in­stal­la­tions in schools, churches, con­cert halls and univer­si­ties.

He also de­signed the stun­ning blue glass bar in Kosta Boda’s Art Ho­tel which opened in 2009 near their glass­works in the heart of the Små­land forests – op­er­a­tional since 1742 and the old­est in the coun­try.

And who will he be root­ing for in this year’s Euro­vi­sion fi­nal? “My tro­phy is a beau­ti­ful piece of art for who­ever wins the con­test,” he says. “But of course, I al­ways love the Swedes!” Kjell Eng­man: Jour­ney of Dreams is at Gallery in the Lanes, Bed­ford Street, Nor­wich from May 18 to June 28. galleryint­he­lanes.co.uk

“I like to make glass you can feel, glass that ap­peals to all of our senses and tries to make use of re­frac­tion and light”

Light as air – Drama­tisk Him­mel Zep­pelinare by Kjell Eng­man

And the win­ner is... Eng­man’s Euro­vi­sion tro­phy

Glass mas­ter Kjell Eng­man at work

Feet shoes

Yel­low Fish

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