Nanna Ditzel – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 26th August 2011 in Danish Furniture Designers

Nanna Ditzel – The Danish School of Arts and Crafts has consistently trained and produced talented furniture designers. Nanna Ditzel studied both at this school and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen graduating in 1946 and proceeded to open her own studio with Jørgen Ditzel.

Born in 1923 and living until 2005, she explored a variety of artistic mediums; these included textiles, tableware and cabinet making.  Furniture was designed for Frederica, Kvist, Getama and others who carried her lines as well as Georg Jensen who carried her jewellery designs and Kvadrat, her textiles. Open to investigating and utilizing new materials and construction techniques, she explored using fiberglass, foam rubber and wicker.

As a recipient of the Lunning Prize in 1956, which was awarded on a yearly basis from 1951 until 1970 to two Scandinavian designers who best exemplified Scandinavian design, in 1990 she won the Gold medal in the International Furniture Design Competition in Japan for “Fredericia”, “Bench for Two”.  She was also awarded the lifelong Artist’s Grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1998.

As the world of architecture changed during this time so did interior design. Split level interior plans became popular during the 1950’s. She experimented with designing modern furniture seating that would be best suited for this new idea of space. One of these productions was the “Hanging Chair” produced in 1957 that appeared quite simply as a half egg made of wicker material. She established Interspace with Kurt Heide in London from 1968 – 1986 operating as an international furniture store. She then returned to Copenhagen.

Known as a prolific designer, she had several one woman exhibitions around the world over the course of her design career. With literary aspirations as well, she wrote the book Danish Chairs in 1954. The award winning “Bench for Two” produced in 1989 was made of solid maple and aeroplane ply with silkscreen printing. With a hypnotic circular repetitive pattern, the two halves fit together to form the backrest with another half circle forming the seat. Resting above four modern minimalist legs, it appears to float and invite at the same time.  In 1990 she designed the “Butterfly Chair”. This was an exploration of modern furniture new materials made from folded fiberboard with silkscreen printing on a simple, animated metal frame.  Her exuberance in modern design furniture is well typified in “Joy” Dressing table produced in 1999 as part of the “Joy” bedroom collection that utilized curvilinear forms with the best in modern form and function.

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