Arne Jacobsen – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 29th August 2011 in Danish Furniture

Arne Jacobsen – Best known as a furniture designer though he thought of himself as an architect first, it was his design philosophy that drove him to design everything from a building down to the spoon on the modern dining room table. It was this attention to detail that he was noted for. Considered an ultra-modern designer, he was born in Copenhagen in February of 1902. As the son of Jewish parents, this would cause him problems later on during the time of Hitler’s ascent to power. While he originally desired to pursue the path of a painter his parents persuaded him to study architecture instead. Graduating from the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in 1927, he began to work for Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob., both architects and designers.

It was during this time that he entered a chair design that he had been working on while in school in the Paris Art Deco fair in 1925 where he won a silver medal. It was while he was at the fair that he first became familiar with the work of Le Corbusier and in travels with Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, famous and influential modern rationalist architects. As his career proceeded, he went on to design many notable modern buildings.

It was during World War II when he was forced to flee and take refuge in Sweden for two years that he expanded his design palette by designing fabrics and wallpaper. In 1945, when he was finally able to return to Denmark he continued to design modern buildings and furniture. His desire to design all aspects of a project comes from the German word Gesamtkunst which means to unite all forms of art.

Collaborating  with Louis Poulsen on producing lighting designs, it was during the 1950’s that he became more focused on modern furniture design which were used many times to decorate the interiors of his buildings. Inspired by Charles and Ray Eames with their exploration of bent plywood he reinterpreted this as his own, he designing the “Ant” chair in 1952. So named as it resembled the outline of an ant with a raised head, it was made from formed molded laminated veneer supported by three thin plastic legs and easy to stack.  This inspired the Seven Series which included variations of Model 3107 which was wildly popular. It explored the use of plywood being bent in two directions at the same time.

Commissioned to design furniture for boutique hotels, he designed the “Egg” chair and the “Swan” chair in 1958 for the Radisson SAS Hotel, most likely inspired by Eero Saarinen’s “Womb” chair.

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