During the 1990s Bertil Vallien was less active as a designer. His energies were, rather, directed, to the role of glass-artist. The new collections reflect the expressive style of his sand-cast sculptures.

The success of the Artist Collection and universal fame now meant that Vallien could concentrate on his artistic career with a clear conscience. Though he continued to work, sporadically, as a designer at Åfors over a five-year period. This proved a wise decision, in view of the down-turn in the Swedish economy, 1988-1993. During this time, he also held numerous exhibitions around the world, in the hope of capturing a more affluent market. The economic situation forced the Johansfors glass factory, (part of the Orrefors Kosta Boda concern since 1989), into closure, in 1991.

The Artist Collection was still thriving, although the first half of the decade was marked by a reduction in the annual output of new series per year. Instead, Bertil took up and further developed the idea of studio glass /production/ that he had begun in the 1980s. The Studio Range implies the multiple production of a unique object in a limited edition of 6 to 300 pieces. Vallien used this concept to create a number of sand-blasted bowls and sandcast sculptures.

In the first half of the 90s, five new lines were added to the Artist Collection: Satellite (1991), Chico (1993), Meteor (1993), Domino (1994) and Tower (1995). The Satellite series, which was an almost instant success, shares a similar design with Galaxy, which has now been discontinued.

Bertil created the Domino bowl at the Orrefors glass factory, where the technique of centifruged glass had been introduced. The outstanding features of this bowl are its clean cut surface/form, and stylised decorative pattern at the bottom. The tall and dignified candleholder, named 'Tower' is typical of the somewhat ponderous restraint that characterises Vallien's style of expression at the time.

From the mid-1990s up until the present, BV has designed a number of glass series, which are marketed by KostaBoda as single pieces*. He began in 1995 with a series of mini-sculptures, consisting of stylised animal figures. These were followed by Viewpoints (1997) and Brains (1998), offshoots of the large sandcasted Cubes and Heads, respectively. Up until 2003, five new series of 'singles' have been produced: Heartbeat, Cell, Chamber, Headman and Messenger. These artefacts represent a further blurring of the boundary between art and design. Although they have their origins in Bertil's thematic sculpture, such as the head, cube and boat, once again he pointed the way ahead for the glass industry - glass as experience.

During the first four years of the millennium, five new series have been added within the sphere of traditional design; Days, Spirits, Oyster, Peacock and Metropolis. The latter is reminiscent of his tall mould-blown bottles from the sixties - a playful collection of towering lidded vases.

There is no evidence of any new services. But Chateau Boheme, a variation of Chateau was produced in 1997. Unlike its sister, CB has a more rustic flavour. For the Millenium, BV designed a limited edition of ten thousand champagne glasses(1999). These were sold in pairs in a presentation box, that came with a book. The glasses are fairly ornate with a thickened stem surmounted by a metal ornament.



Satellite. Photo: Rolf Hörlin.









Domino. Photo: Rolf Hörlin.



 





Minisculpure. Photo: Rolf Hörlin.










Brains. Photo: Rolf Hörlin.

 

 

 

Metropolis.

 

 

 

Messenger. Photo: Rolf Hörlin.

 

 


 

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