Everything started in 1742
It all started in the heart of the forests in Småland, Sweden, where Kosta was founded and named by two governors and former generals from King Charles XII's army, named Anders Koskull and George Bogislaus Stael von Holstein. Kosta Boda as we know the brand today, was formed through a merger of the glassworks in Kosta, Boda and Åfors.
The location in Småland was chosen so that the glassworks could supply both Stockholm and Karlskrona with glass, and the forest provided unlimited access to wood to heat the furnaces. For centuries, skilled craftsmen have created glass in the furnaces, which have been lit since July 26, 1742 - making Kosta the oldest active glassworks in Sweden.
Kosta Boda through the times
For a long time, glass was considered a luxury. During Kosta Boda's first 150 years, fine glassware - such as window panes and crystal chandeliers - was manufactured and foremost sold to royalty, nobility and the rich merchants who could afford the costly goods. Professional secrets were well kept by the glassblowers, who came from other parts of Europe, and it took several decades before Swedes also learned to blow glass.
The products that were created were often based on traditional models from the glassblowers' home countries, and at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1897 Kosta was criticized for the fact that the glass largely resembled glass from other parts of Europe. That’s when the idea to hire own designers was born, in order to build a unique design profile. This quickly became an important part of the company.
In 1898, Gunnar G:son Wennerberg was hired as the glassworks’ first own designer. In 1935 the first female artist, Tyra Lundgren, was recruited. Since then, many well-known designers and artists have worked with Kosta Boda and developed the brand. For example Vicke Lindstrand as creative leader, together with people like Erik Höglund, Monica Backström, Ulrika Hydman Vallien, Åsa Jungnelius, Ellen Ehk Åkesson, Göran Wärff, Bertil Vallien and others. The list goes on, and even today our designers and artists are at the core of Kosta Boda's continued development. They all share a passion for design and artistic expression, and always push the boundaries of what’s possible.
Over the years, Kosta Boda has worked through ups and downs. At times, competition has intensified from several directions, and Kosta Boda's production has constantly developed with the changing times. Thanks to good management skills from the glassworks’ directors, adaptability and craftsmanship, Kosta Boda has survived everything from competition from new glassworks - often started by former workers with knowledge directly from Kosta glassworks - to industrialism and the fight against machine-made glass, to changes in design trends.
Kosta Boda today
Since 2005, Orrefors Kosta Boda AB is part of New Wave Group AB, which is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm and operates with a number of brands in the consumer and corporate market with a focus on sports, leisure, interior design and gifts.
Today, Kosta Boda is more alive than ever. Production at Kosta glassworks is in full swing, and in the light from the furnaces, visitors have the opportunity to follow the work up close - from the melting of the glass mass to glassblowing, grinding and painting. Every summer, Kosta is visited by over half a million tourists, and it’s still the glassworks, the mansion and some of the original cottages that together form the center of the resort. Kosta Boda's work also stretches further than that; nowadays part of our production is manufactured at skilled glassworks all over Europe. With our design in focus, we work with carefully selected suppliers and glass craftsmen. These collaborations have led to opportunities to teach the techniques that have been developed at the glassworks in Småland, at the same time as we get access to techniques that aren’t available in our own factory. A perfect win-win situation.
The ability to constantly develop and maintain efficient, high-quality production has been crucial to Kosta Boda's success and reputation as one of the world's leading glassworks. For almost 300 years, several generations have worked at Kosta glassworks in the forests in Småland. With innovative craftsmanship, knowledge, courage and determination, they have all contributed to our rich history - and laid the foundation for a continued successful future.