KostaBoda is actually three factories in the villages Kosta, Boda and Aafors in Småland, Sweden. Each of them individually have exciting histories and experiences, but they stand together in the Brand "Kosta Boda". In Sweden the whole area is called "Glasriket"("The Glass Empire" or "the Kingdom of Crystal").
Founded in 1742 at the request of King Frederik I, by two Acountry-chiefs from Staël and Kalmar parish, also generals in the Karl XII army. The name originates from the founders Anders Koskull, governor of Kalmar, and Georg Bogislaus Staël von Holstein, governor of Kronoberg - Ko-Sta. Brave and important men, who founded the oldest and biggest glassworks in Sweden.
During the first 150 years, the production primarly included window glass (for the building of the Tessin Castle in Stockholm), luxury drinking glasses (for the Royal Family) and church chandeliers. As a consequence of the industrial revolution major changes were made. Half of the production at the Kosta Glassworks still was window glass. Competition increased, and an increase in the demand for ornamental glass and glass for the everyday household forced Kosta to make changes in the production line. Inspiration was found in Germany and later in France, where ideas for design and shapes were copied.
Kosta opened their own shop in Stockholm in 1866, and by the 1870's Kosta applied to become a registered company. The biggest threat to the glassworks came during World War II. Closing the works was considered but the young Axel F. Hummel (not related to Maria Innocensia Hummel, Germany) transformed the works into a modern glass-industry. The works survived by producing series of preservation jars, exported to most of the world. As late as in the middle of the 19th century, Kosta was the only glassworks within the south-eastern part of "Småland". Within the next 50 years 48 new glassworks were established in this area.
As times changed Kosta took up producing artist created glass products. Artists were engaged directly at the glassworks and the production line changed into a totally different expression in various styles. By 1970 Kosta experienced major increases in the export of figurines and in the number of turists visiting the glassworks. Kosta was bought by Uppsala-Ekeby in 1975. Merged with Boda and Åfors in 1976, to form Kosta-Boda.
The Boda Glassworks was founded in 1864. Designers were not linked to the glassworks untill the change of the century. Between 1953 and 1973 the artist Erik Höglund worked at Boda, and made Swedish glass worldfamous. From their studios at this glasswork, the artists Monica Backström and Kjell Engman now created their products.
Merged with Kosta and Aafors in 1976, to form KostaBoda.
Founded in the parish of Kalmar in 1876 by a family of glassblowers from Kosta. Today this is where the very famous glassartist Bertil Valliens and his wife Ulrica Hydman-Valliens work in their big studio. Bertil Valliens is, without competition "The Grand Old Man" of Swedish glass. His creations are represented at well-esteemed art-museums all over the world.
Also at Åfors, the artist Gunnel Sahlin has created her colourful vases in dazzling orange, clear limegreen and lemon yellow.
Åfors merged with Kosta and Boda in 1976, to form KostaBoda. The atmosphere at Åfors is very interesting, exciting and innovative with three internationally famed artists, totally enthusiastic creating their own unique style. Several new techniques and styles have been developed in this studio.
Works-church-services are held at Åfors, reintroducing an old tradition. The service simply takes place in the middle of the production area.
"The Kingdom of Crystal" gives you the opportunity of testing an old dish, carrying a history of some three or four hundred years. The name of the dish is "Hyttsill" (Hut-herring). The dish consists of (glass-)oven-baked herring, bacon. sausages, baked potatoes, flavoured butter and bread with butter. In the old days, the glass-huts were probably the only places offering warm rooms in the winter. Not only the glassblower, but the rest of the village too, as well as by passing wanderers sought out the glass-hut, for a good meal and a warm night.
Today you have the possibility of eating this ancient dish as well as testing your luck in the art of glassblowing. Co-operation between the glassworks Kosta, Boda and Åfors commenced in the 1960's. 1976 the three works merged and became KostaBoda (KB), and the company has acquired a solid position globally - selling in allmost every country, and in Norway in particular. Close to 20 percent of the total turnover comes from Norway. Therefore KB established a subsidiary in Norway in 1972.
From the fall of 1997, the company was a part of the art-concortium Royal Scandinavia.
From the 1st of June 2005 KostaBoda is part of the New Wave Group. The designer-group at KostaBoda today consists of Monica Backström, Olle Brozén, Anne Ehrner, Kjell Engman, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Anne Nilsson, Gunnel Sahlin, Bertil Vallien, Ann Wåhlström and Göran Wärff. The glass from KostaBoda is not for everybody. KostaBoda is expensive, but art is allowed to be. Their products are vigorously copied in countries of cheap labour. KostaBoda considers that a compliment. We need to experiment and think new thoughts.