Design, People, Scandinavian design

Remember the ashtray?

A smoking Mr. Wegner

Above: A smoking Mr. Wegner back in the golden age of Modern Danish Design.


Tobacco has been a common thing in Scandinavia for more than 600 years and as smoking became the thing to do, ashtrays became the thing to have.
Back in the days, when smoking was a perfectly normal everyday habit, small ashtrays on the dinner table was as natural as knife and fork. And on anything from buses to airplanes people lite up on cigars, cigarettes and pipes. Even non-smokers would have ashtrays in the house for guests.

In the 19th century, Bing & Grøndahl began to produce ashtrays in beautiful china and until 2007 when laws closed down the possibility to smoke in public places most designers and design companies had ashtrays on their consciences.
Today ashtrays are not something you want to show off and most design companies have taken them out of production. Today designer ashtrays are something you would find in a museum or on windy balconies.
But we still remember the icons – some are still on sale and some … have gone up in smoke as they say.


Stelton Cylinda AJ Ashtray. Designed in 1967 by Arne Jacobsen. A pricwinning design icon.

Rosti Mepal Ashtray with Lid Black

Marianne Brandt Bauhaus Ashtray MB 23 E by Tecnolumen, Year 1924

The Stepptwo ashtray by Tom Stepp

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Aqua Ashtray by Per Lütken for Holmegaard, 1950s

Clam ashtray by Alan Fletcher. Year 1972

Floor ashtray by Arne Jacobsen. Shown in the famous Room 606 at The Radisson Hotel.

The Invotis Ashtray Factory by Ramón Middelkoop and Chris Koens.

Ashtray and match holder from La Fonda del Sol. By Alexander Girard, 1960’s.

Matte Black Crystal Ashtray by Alexander Wang.

Alessi Spirale ashtray designed by Achille Castiglioni in 1986

Bauhaus ashtray designed by Marianne Brandt. Produced by Alessi.

A smoking Poul Kjælholm

A smoking Børge Mogensen

A smoking Arne Jacobsen