Cathrineholm: and the love of the lotus design

It’s been several years since I first discovered Cathrineholm, the Norwegian enamel cookware manufacturer, and I have been a fan of their products and designs ever since.

The first time I saw the ever-popular lotus design from Cathrineholm, I remember I watching Mad Men and there was a scene where they were sitting around the table in the boardroom and there they sat, these beautiful, very brightly colored bowls with an ultra simple, yet cool leaf-like design on them.

Oh the glory of Mad Men and the set designers who brought us the best!

After seeing this, I began Googling different words, terms, names, and I finally came across an article and discovered what these bowls were.

Cathrineholm was the name of a manufacturing company in Norway that made enamel coated cookware from 1907 to the 1970s.

One of the most popular of the printed designs that came out of the Cathrineholm plant was that of the lotus leaf. And although it has been said that Grete Prytz Kittlesen was the creator of said design, it was actually designer Arne Clausen that came up with the wildly popular lotus. Grete had a history of working with Cathrineholm in designing the shapes and structures of the pieces, as her background was in working with silver, vitreous enamel and plastic material; and being that she was one of the leading artists of the Scandinavian Design movement, Kittelsen received several awards and honors in the 1950s. As the designer luminary, Kittlesen created prints that suited her own taste, albeit more of the simpler prints for Cathrineholm.

One of Grete Kittlesen’s simpler designs for Cathrineholm

Cathrineholm’s manufactured products became popular not only in Europe but also in the United States. It’s popularity grew with the discovery of those colorful lotuses. Many homes around the world found the products durable, functional and satisfied the need for great design and color.

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

I really wanted one of my own pieces of Cathrineholm adorned with the lotus but with its popularity growing, so did the prices. I was lucky enough to find one piece (sans lid) at a Thrift store in California.

My first piece of Cathrineholm, and even without the lid, I still cherish it!

And more recently, a friend who owns a cool vintage shop in Riverside, CA called ‘Not Another Mod Snob’ posted that she had a Cathrineholm bowl for a decent price. I had to have it! And here it is!

It’s in beautiful shape! Not as brightly colored as those produced in the earlier 60s, colors changed as the 70s grew closer. You remember 70s kitchens…gold, green and brown!

As a “design junky” (that’s sometimes what I refer to myself as) Norwegian design is key. It’s tantalizing to many artists, designers, and illustrator’s taste buds.

And, many have created and conceived with the lotus print in mind.

Cathrineholm has been well regarded as a designer’s dream and I feel the popularity of the lotus will forever live on.

I have been inspired by the lotus print and have used a very similar design in my own art:

“Spilled Lemons” 16x20 acrylic on canvas

Just a little something I did while waiting for paint to dry… it’s a tiny 6x6 piece.

Can you tell I love turquoise and orange? I would love to have more turquoise and orange Cathrineholm bowls or cookware.

There are some designers out there who have mass collections, such as Lisa Congdon. Check it out!!

There should always be this much color and fun design in everyone’s life!

So there’s your brief introduction to a Norwegian manufacturer and its popular lotus design that we all have continued to love.

Thank you for following along and if you want to receive weekly blog posts and other goodies, sign up on my email list below.


A simple design with lots of inspiration and purpose!

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All