Design Icons – Christian Dell

Born in Offenbach am Main on February 24, 1893, Christian Dell trained as a silversmith at a specialized academy for silver forging and later attended the School of Applied Arts in Weimar, where he refined and put into practice his knowledge in artisan workshops as a master silversmith.

From 1922 to 1925, he was responsible for the metal workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where he pioneered experimental work in metal processing, taking on the task of transmitting to a new generation his functional approach based on the reduction of anything superfluous. During this period, he created cutlery and tableware products in silver and copper.

From the 1920s onwards, for the company Gebr. Kaiser & Co, he designed a large quantity of metal lamps in various versions, known as the KAISER series. The model 6631 became the representative symbol of the company and of German design in general, for its elegant choice of materials and high precision in the assembly of parts. Today, various pieces of the collection are produced by Fritz Hansen.

Christian Dell, KAISER idell 6631 table lamp, 1936, Fritz Hansen, photo by Fritz Hansen, photo by Egon Gade
kaiser series lamp model 6631 by dell

Christian Dell, KAISER Idell 6556 wall lamp and KAISER idell 6718-W table lamp, Fritz Hansen
kaiser wall and table lamp

On the left, Christian Dell, KAISER idell 6580-F floor lamp, Fritz Hansen, photo by Jens Bangsbo. On the right, Christian Dell, KAISER idell 6556-F floor lamp, Fritz Hansen, photo by Ditte Isager
kaiser floor lamp

After the closure of the Bauhaus in Weimar, in 1926 he moved to the Frankfurt School of Art and became head of the metal workshop until 1933 when the rise of the Nazi party prevented him from continuing his teachings.

Despite an offer of a new job in the United States from Walter Gropius, he decided to remain in Germany to produce silver artifacts and opened his own jewelry store a few years after the end of World War II.

Christian Dell is also remembered as one of the first designers to use innovative plastics such as bakelite and aminoplastics as early as 1929/30. He died in Wiesbaden in 1974.

Christian Dell, KAISER Idell Series, Fritz Hansen, photo by Ditte Isager
kaiser lamp series by christian dell

In the cover image, Christian Dell in a vintage photo.

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