Product Design

This Dansk Pitcher Has World-Famous Good Looks

We'll take one in every color, please and thank you.

April 17, 2023
Photo by Mark Weinberg

Last March, when Food52 released a one-off vintage Dansk drop, some of the most coveted items were the pitchers in cool teal, chili red, and even a rare kumquat. There were only five total, which means they sold out in a snap. But there’s good news for all those of you that didn’t get your hands on one. An archival reissue of the iconic pitcher is available—and there are plenty to go around!

The Købenstyle pitcher, which was first unveiled in 1955, is often one of the first vintage Dansk pieces people reach for and get excited about because it is so iconically Dansk. “It's still sought-after in vintage shops and online, from eBay to 1stDibs, and when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced its upcoming show, Scandinavian Design and the United States, the Købenstyle pitcher was front and center,” says Christine Muhlke, Food52’s Dansk archivist.

A vintage pitcher. Photo by MJ Kroeger
The original drawing by Jens Quistgaard. Photo by Dansk Archives

Much of the pitcher’s enduring popularity is thanks to its sturdy but elegant design: the brightly colored enameled steel a counterpoint to the delicate hand-wrapped rattan handle. Its clean, quietly sculptural lines are, of course, a Jens Quistgaard trademark. The Danish mastermind behind Købsenstyle cookware and the Dansk brand was trained in sculptural art, and always carried that mindset into the world of product design. Quistgaard’s daughter Henriette writes via email, “My father developed his own personal language of form. Objects had to be conceived in three dimensions, much like sculptures, and were underlined by a distinctly personal touch. In other words, while Købenstyle was designed for industrial production, it always bore the mark of the human hand.”

Another thing that’s distinctive about Købenstyle products is that they are designed to go straight from kitchen to table (like the casseroles and paella pans), and are often multifaceted (like the very popular butter warmer). Even the pitcher finds several uses other than just to hold drinks (incidentally, it is designed to hold hot and cold drinks). Elizabeth Spiridakis Olson, VP, Creative at Food52 and a lifelong collector of Købenstyle, says she plans to use hers as a vase. “I have my eye on a red one, and will be using it for flowers in my kitchen all summer long. The pitcher is tall and has a nice weight to it, so it’s ideal for beautiful, bold arrangements.”

Food52 stylist Molly Fitzsimons has the same idea: "The pitcher is perfectly proportioned for flower arranging: tall and slim, slightly cinched toward the top, then slightly flared to make room for the blossoms of your choice, whether a loose bunch of wildflowers or a single shapely branch. You can choose a color to either complement or contrast with your favorite flower—but I have yet to find a combination that doesn’t work."

Of course, the special signature of Købenstyle is the use of those crisp, saturated colors. Originally, there were only four: turquoise, yellow, orange-red and dark blue, but over the years, the brand expanded that slate of shades. Muhlke bought a teal pitcher at an antiques store in West Virginia almost 15 years ago, and admitted to buying a couple more while curating the Dansk vintage sale. “Now I've got my eye on the straight-sided Købenstyle pitcher,” she says.

The original pitcher, which Henriette says is still missing from her own collection, and its variations, like the straight-sided version with the more traditional welded handles, will always find lasting appeal among fans of the brand. Muhlke speaks of visiting Quistgaard's house in rural Denmark—where Henriette still lives today—and coming across the original drawings for the pitcher. “It was incredible to be so close to the source,” she says. “We felt like we were in the presence of Picasso's sketches!”

More Dansk Must-Haves

Do you own a Dansk pitcher? Tell us the story of how you got yours in the comments below!

This article was originally published in March 2022 and was updated in April 2023.

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Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.


Debb364 September 10, 2023
I have the lidded 2-3 qt casserole that was my grandmothers, the yellow Pitt her and small round shallow serving dish from my mom and a large turquoise round paella server from my great aunt. I feel fortunate to have these vintage pieces and recently added a new lidded 1 qt sauce pan. I love that the kids double as trivets and the unique but classic style!
Barb July 30, 2023
These Dansk designs were a new product when I was married (1960!). I still have all but the one where I buried food so badly that it destroyed the bottom of the casserole. I still use my pitchers an butter warmer, less so the casseroles since I'm a widow and am cooking less or at least smaller amounts. They are the best!!
Paula H. July 28, 2023
I love this design, but wonder about the woven handle cover and how to clean it. Thoughts?
Barb June 20, 2022
I was fortunate to be a young bride in the early days of Dansk's rising popularity so was thrilled with the solid colors that appealed to me more than any architectural or floral design. I was gifted in red 2 lidded casseroles (small and large), 1 red butter warmer, and 1 red pitcher - all of which I have and adore. Subsequently when as a couple we started entertaining I purchased a large red paella and a large yellow paella pan. As a widow 52 years later, I use them less and less but do not plan to part with any!! Nostalgia and fine quality!!