Boerge Mogensen – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 31st August 2011 in Danish Furniture

Boerge Mogensen – Living in the same time period as other Danish modern designers such as Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen, he was known best for promoting Danish design. Like many during this time, he attended the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen graduating in 1938 continuing on to study architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of fine Arts School of Architecture. In 1943, he worked in several local Copenhagen design studios most notably as the manager of FDB’s furniture design studio. During the 1940’s, he was also the Head of Furniture Design for the Danish Cooperative Wholesale Society.

In 1950, after teaching at the Royal Danish Academy, he left the studio of FDB and opened his own modern Danish furniture design studio. His style was strongly rooted in traditional craftsmanship executed with an understanding and execution of classical lines but with a modern interpretation. His designs allowed the general public that did not yet embrace modern furniture design to appreciate and begin to understand this new style.

This was seen in the 1949 “Shell” chair that responded to the human form allowing for a curved backrest with an uplifted rounded seat of teak and beech. In 1945, he designed the beech “Spokeback Sofa” with side arms that were able to be dropped down or tied back into place. This was taken up again in 1951 where he had on display at the Cabinetmaker’s a Guild Exhibition a grouping of Danish oak with leather upholstery.

In 1953, he designed a family room that incorporated a workbench and a sewing table labeling it “This is Where We Live”. Perhaps he was envisioning today’s modern version of the inclusion of a home office into our living areas.
This exploration into the design of a whole room in relation to furniture caused him to design cabinets that instead of being free standing pieces of furniture were built into the walls. True to his nature of being thorough, he studied and noted the dimensions of objects typically used along with the number that an average person might possess. He collaborated with Grethe Meyer in 1954 to produce Construction Cupboards of the House. Embracing the stricter aspect of functionalism in modern design, he developed rules for the design of these storage systems eventually leading to the publishing of a manual on building storage systems.

In 1959, he redesigned the “Spanish” chair. Made of oak and leather it was as the rest of his furniture, simple and modern, furniture suitable for everyday living. He also worked extensively with Lis Ahlmann designing textiles.

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Bruno Mathsson – Sweedish Furniture Designer

Posted on 30th August 2011 in Danish Furniture

Bruno Mathsson – Born in January 1907 in the town of Värnamo in southern Sweden, he worked as a modernist architect and Scandinavian modern furniture designer until his death in August 1988. Raised by a carpenter father, he showed an interest from little on in following his father’s footsteps. Eventually he began to work in his father’s gallery with a focus on furniture especially chairs.

As he developed his designs he also developed a technique for constructing wooden chairs that involved running the components under hot water while the wood was bent and then glued securely in place.

Some of his best known works are the “Grasshopper”, 1931, the “Mimat”, 1932, the “Eva” chair, 1935 and the “Swivel” chair in 1939-1940. Fully captured by the functional side of form of modern furniture design, he designed the “Grasshopper” inspired by his visit to the Stockholm Fair in Sweden in 1930. While the Värnamo Hospital who purchased his chairs for their reception area eventually removed all of them because of complaints by visitors that the chair was ugly, continued to perfect his bent-wood technique.

Eventually he was invited to his first one-man show in 1936 at the Röhsska Arts and Craft Museum in Gothenburg where his modern furniture designs met with approval. This led to his success and professional accolades at the World Fair in Paris in 1937. This in turn led him to explore the world of design internationally travelling to the United States in the 1940’s meeting the likes of Charles Eames, Hans Knoll, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd-Wright. The later so influenced him that he designed the Mathsson glass house which interestingly included well insulated triple glazing.

Usually naming his chairs with a female name, he expanded the materials he used for frames and included tubular steel as well. Understanding the elegance in the modern minimal line, he incorporated ergonomic correctness in its function as well. Creativity for him continued well into his older years and at the age of 80 began designing a line of modern computer furniture.
His furniture such as the “Mimat” is a simple wood frame with a woven seat. The “Stories” table was light and rested on wheels which allowed for easy mobility and the “Pernilla” lounge chair was inviting support by bentwood legs with curvilinear arms. The “Table Kuggen Mi” made from either a variety of woods or a white lacquer, has an almost puzzle piece outline providing for an individualized projection from the main part of the table for each person who might sit there. Imaginative and practical, it summarizes well his design philosophy.

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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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Hans Wegner – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 9th August 2011 in Danish Furniture

We all have our gifts and Hans Wegner’s was designing chairs. Credited with over five hundred chairs over the span of his career, he designed with the intent to reveal, to strip down furniture to its essence, its core. With this clarity of line and purpose in mind, he created both serious and more light hearted pieces such as the Ox Chair in 1960 that was available with horns (or without).

Born in 1914 and living until 2007, he was part of the mid-century Danish designers who created modern design for everyday living. Trained first as a cabinet maker, this provided for his expert and experimental use of wood in his contemporary furniture designs. Like many of his time, he attended the Danish School of Arts and Crafts and then continued on to the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen.

Collaborating with both cabinet makers and architects, he eventually began working with Arne Jacobsen who was a successful Danish architect who, with Erik Moller designed the Arhus City Hall. Wegner was to design the furniture for the Aarhus Municipal Hall inside the city hall. Eventually Wegner opened his own contemporary furniture company. Working with architect Borge Mogensen, he designed furniture for FDB, a chain of Danish grocery stores.

Throughout his career, he designed interesting modern furniture chairs that carried equally interesting names such as the Peacock Chair in 1947, the Hoop Chair in 1965 and the Wishbone Chair in 1949. Most of his designs were produced by PP Mobler and Carl Hansen & Son.

Taking a traditional design such as the Windsor chair, it was reinvented in the Peacock Chair that like its name exhibited a slatted back that fanned out similar to that of a peacock’s plume. Understanding that form and function are always one in regards to modern furniture, the Valet Chair, 1953, was designed to accommodate hanging a man’s suit on. With a storage space under the seat to storage miscellaneous items, the back served as a coat hanger and a rail conveniently placed next to the seat could hold a pair of pants.

The wishbone Chair also referred to as the Y Chair, 1949, made of hardwood and natural cord caning is so named because of the shape of the backrest. Simple in line, this contemporary furniture piece is devoid of detailing that would detract from its rounded and inviting form which probably accounts for its popularity. With the Papa bear chair, 1951 and the unique Shell Chair, 1963, with a wonderfully smooth arched backrest, modern furniture had found a great designer.


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Arne Jacobsen – Chair – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 28th July 2011 in Danish Furniture, Danish Furniture Designers

danishfurniture.blogspot.comFamous for his broad range of chair designs, Arne Jacobsen considered himself an architect first despite his successes in modern furniture. Jacobsen became very popular and well known for his various designs of modern chairs. Born in 1902, and growing up during the great boom in the design work, this Danish architect helped develop a modern furniture style called Danish Modern which is still a top design choice in the modern world. Arne Jacobsen was focused on functionality in his designs, but was able to bring an edge of comfort to his chairs and sofas.

Initially, Jasobsen wanted to go into painting but was encouraged to move forward with a career in architecture by his dad. Jacobsen spent time studying at the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. As a student, Jacobsen began competing in design fairs around the world. It is said that when he went to the Paris Art Deco Fair, he saw the grand designer Le Corbusier and fell in love with his work and the aesthetics of his designs. He was also influenced by design greats Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

Known as an ultra-modern architect, Jacobsen spent several years creating out-of-the-box designs before fleeing his home during World War II. After restarting his career, he designed the SAS Hotel from the ground up – the contemporary furniture, rooms, everything.

These days, Jacobsen is most recognizable by his chair and contemporary furniture designs. One of his first chairs was the Ant Chair.

The Ant Chair is an elegant, yet simple stackable chair created in 1952 for the lounge area the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Shaped similar to an “ant,” the chair had three legs and was very popular in modern design.

Another chair Jacobsen was famous for is the Model 3107 chair, which is noted as one of the most popular in Danish history with its use of techniques of bent plywood that were innovative when created in 1955. The chair, along with the ant chair, was inspired by a modern design by Charles and Ray Eames who also made a plastic armchair and chaise still popular today. The 3107 chair had multiple styles, as an office chair, had the ability to attach a writing desk and other materials. It is these features that make the piece timeless as it surely influenced other designs worldwide from New York to Italy.

Jacobsen was not done though. One of his next pieces was the Egg chair for a Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen. While other creations include the Cigar, the Grand Prix chair, the Pot and others, the Egg wasn’t your typical chair as it had a matching couch that was later discontinued. Jacobsen also made the Swan chair for the Radisson, and this design is still popular in contemporary furniture today with plenty of living rooms and home offices using a Swan chair.

In addition to architecture and furniture, Jaocbsen also made a stainless steel cocktail kit as well as faucets and accessories for your bathroom. Arne Jacobsen died in 1971 with plenty of new projectin the works, including major buildings in England such as the Danish National Bank and the Royal Danish Embassy.

Arne Jacobsen may be gone, but his modern furniture line is still a mainstay in interior designs.




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20th Century brings Danish furniture designers into the limelight

Posted on 15th June 2011 in Danish Furniture, Danish Furniture Designers

It was in the 20th Century when Danish furniture designers finally came of their own with a series of major furniture designs that have become what is considered a “modern classic” furniture style that bespeaks of the Danish motto of “form follows function.”

Early on, the design industry was heavily influenced by the great Bauhaus School of Design in Germany. Regardless of whether it was products such as furniture, kitchen goods, hardware and more, the improvements in product design made for quick advances with the changes in technology leading the way. Interior design and the outlying industries were no different. How one fashioned a home, from living room to patio was transformed by technology and the industrial age.

Denmark was no different, and in the early to mid 1900s brought many changes in how design was portrayed and viewed. Aesthetics were important, but aesthetics were drawn from the form of the shape required for furniture design, for example.  A chair was designed more how a human body functioned and flowed, with elongated chaises and deep egg like chairs.

These Danish furniture designs by greats such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner and Poul Henningsen.

Arne Jacobsen is one of the more popular modern Danish furniture designers. He was passionate about good design and it didn’t matter what type of furniture it was – chair, desk, bed or table – Jacobsen had a grand passion for creating it. Jacobsen was known for his interior design as well as his architectural design.  Key icons of his furniture design include the comfortable egg chair and the elegant swan chair, both of which represent the motto of form follows function and are neat, simple in design while being extremely functional.

Hans J. Wegner is known for an extensive design portfolio.  It is said that Wegner has over 500 different modern chair designs and his passion for beauty, form AND function led him to be a prolific, in-demand furniture designer. Wegner worked with Jacobsen before opening his own agency in the 1940s.

Wegner was prolific in his modern chair designs and indeed, many of his designs have become staples in the modern furniture industry today. Browse through any modern furniture store today, whether it’s Los Angeles, New York or Miami, and you will see designs based on both Jacobsen and Wegner. Both of these Danish furniture designers were cutting-edge, bold and emulated the modern form follows function mentality.

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