“It’s tough to see our work treated like this,” one former glass worker told Sveriges Television (SVT).
Glass factories at Åfors and Orrefors were ordered closed in 2012, with operations finally coming to a halt this month after owners New Wave Group were unable to negotiate a purchase of the facilities.
Designer Bertil Vallien, who worked at the Åfors factory for the past 50 years, now goes to his former workshop every day to clear the shelves of crystal boats and busts he designed, as well as works by other designers whose designs helped make Sweden’s “crystal kingdom” famous around the world.
“Its sad and tragic to destroy things that aren’t only a part of my history, but are also a part of the factory’s history,” Vallien told SVT.
While a small percentage of the works will end up at the Glass Factory museum in nearbyBoda, most of it will be destroyed on orders from company management who want to avoid selling the items at a steep discount and flooding the market for Swedish-designed crystal.
The move has upset a number of designers and former glass factory employees, with designer Ingegerd Råman slamming the “destructive way” in which crystal treasures that came to life thanks the efforts of many skilled craftspeople and designers are now simply being trashed.
While officials from Orrefors Kosta Boda claim the works that are being destroyed are “unsellable”, former glass workers tell SVT that many exclusive pieces, including those bearing signatures of the designers, are also being relegated to the scrap heap.