Tias Eckhoff

Oslo, Norway

Born in 1926 in Vestre Slidre, a suburb of Oslo, Mathias Gerhard “Tias” Eckhoff was a Norwegian industrial designer known best for his ceramics and flatware. 

From 1945 to 1949, Eckhoff apprenticed as a potter at the Norwegian School of Arts and Craft, sharing an alma matter with array of enduring Norwegian artisans like Torbjørn Afdal, Hermann Bongard, Ingmar Relling, Sigurd Ressell, Fredrik A. Keyser, and Gerhard Berg, to name a few. After graduating, he went to work for Porsgrund Porcelain and became their head of design in 1952, a position he held until 1960. His output here includes the post-war classic Riflede Coffee Set in Feldspar porcelain (1952); Glohane Cookware (1955-1959), which featured 18 different shapes in three colors and received a Gold Medal at the 1957 Triennale; and three high-quality kitchenware series meant to solidify the reputation of the porcelain factory—the decorative Hanko, the angular Nektar, and the Meny ranges (all produced in the late 1950s).

During the 1950s, Eckhoff was prolific in designing flatware, an oeuvre that began with his sterling silver Cypress Cutlery for Georg Jensen (1953). Later designs include his Eckhoff collection (1954) of stainless steel cutlery with palisander wood handles for Dansk Knivfabrik, followed by the Opus (1959) and Fuga ranges (1962), which widened out the spoons bases to an egg-ier shape than seen in the Cypress series. His iconic Maya range (1962) for the Bergen, Norway-based Norsk Stålpress (now Stelton) was an even further departure, featuring spoons that were nearly circular.

In the late 20th century and on the heels of experimentation with plastic technology, Eckhoff moved beyond cutlery and ceramics to grow a small output of furniture design. Like the plastic forms of modernists Charles & Ray Eames and fellow Norwegian Sven Ivar Dysthe, Eckhoff’s furniture work—namely, his molded stacking chairs Ana (1980) and Tomi (1983) for his own firm—appealed for their simplicity, comfort, and great functionality. 

Outside his 1957 Triennale Gold Medal, Eckhoff garnered a number of awards for his work: The Lening Prize (1953); two other Gold Medals at the Triennale (1954 and 1960); and the Jacob Prize (1974). His work is currently represented at several international institutions, including New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

He passed away in 2016.