Stoff Nagel

Stoff Nagel

The story of the candleholder

Twenty years before the STOFF Nagel candle holder ever saw the light of day, an idea glistened within the Nagel family. They were deeply affected by the recent end of World War II and the repeated bombings that had largely leveled the nearby city Cologne to the ground.

Thousands of people became homeless and the little family could only look on while the spirit of their village was drained and many neighbors moved away. The brass cartridge cases were plentiful enough for their blacksmith father to transform the war remnants into ashtrays, vases and candle holders. 


It is unknown whether it was the father’s ingenuity or their childhood steeped in metalwork that later inspired the sons of the family to apply to the Cologne Art School, but surely they all shared their father’s passion for art and design. One of the Nagel sons became a painter and sculptor, another a silversmith, but it was Hans Nagel who served as CEO of the small family company, determined to pursue his father’s work, fueled by a creative streak and a penchant for details.

The meeting that changed everything

Merely 20 years after the end of the war, the now 35-year-old Hans Nagel met the architect and artist Werner Stoff in in the design community of Cologne. Nagel had long been interested in making beautiful things for the dinner table, while Stoff had been working as a performing artist and had developed his own signature line of rounded objects “without corners.” Their shared loved for good design and passion for art sparked a creative match.

Three holes in the snow

Nagel told Stoff that he was struck by an idea during a skiing vacation in The Alps where an accidental backward tumble forced him to break the fall with his hand, thus creating the finest three finger-holes in the snow. The perfect holes brought a candle holder to mind—a beautiful, sculptured and simple candle holder with room for three slim sticks.

Nagel asked Stoff if he would like to make the design for him? This question launched an adventure much like humankind’s desire to reach the moon, motivated by the vast technological achievements of the decade and honed by the boom in individualist expression. Cologne’s rebirth brought the world’s first art market to town. Worldwide ‘design’ was a force influencing all layers of society, and the candle holder became an objet d’art symbolizing movement away from the status quo.


Until recently, the STOFF Nagel candle holder has been unavailable in stores, but Danish design company ‘STOFF Copenhagen’ has resuscitated the iconic piece. With respect to the era of its infancy and its signature design, the Danish company has re-launched the timeless icon using Nagel’s original drawings.