Vintage Danish Modern Style Furniture

Danish Modern tables and chairs, desks and dressers, and other types of furniture from the postwar period are recognizable for their simple, elegant, and airy forms. Many of the pieces, which were typified by their clean, sweeping lines, were of very high quality. As a result, excellent examples of vintage Danish Modern furniture are still available in usable condition.

One of the most influential Danish Modern designers was Arne Jacobsen, whose early work was itself influenced by the output of Charles and Ray Eames in the late 1940s, when Mid-century Modern was just beginning to flower. Jacobsen’s successful, stackable, and space-saving Ant chair from 1952 had three metal legs and was made out of a single piece of molded plywood. Other pieces, such as the 7 Chair from 1955, were even more like the work of the Eameses.

In 1957, a purely Jacobsen aesthetic arrived with the release of the Swan chair, which wrapped its users in a palm-like embrace. The interior of the chair was constructed of a fiberglass shell, which was then covered in foam rubber and upholstered in either a stretch fabric or leather. Jacobsen’s Egg chair from 1958 enveloped the sitter to an even greater extent, creating a mini-interior space out of just a single piece of furniture.

Finn Juhl was a contemporary of Jacobsen. He took a more sculptural approach with his wood-frame seats and couches, whose backs were often asymmetrical. His 1949 Chieftain chair, with leather seats and backs, and tongue-like leather flaps on the wooden arms, is one of his rarest pieces. Fewer than 100 of these handsome chairs were made, mostly for Danish embassies.

Hans Wegner got his start in Jacobsen’s office, but he quickly made a name for himself in the world of Danish furniture design and beyond. His Peacock chair from 1947 was a riff on the classic Windsor chair, with a wider cord seat and a fuller, radiating back. But Wegner is probably best known for the 1949 Round chair, which was so highly regarded it was used by Nixon and Kennedy in a 1960 presidential debate. Today it is known simply as The Chair.

Børge Mogensen designed office furniture, from desks to chairs, of elegant simplicity that harmonized form with functionality. His teak Shell chair from 1949 seemed constructed out of the sort of organic shapes one might find in the sand at the beach. Mogensen’s low-slung Hunt chair from 1950 was more straightforward, while his Sleigh chair from 1953 was a confection in white, with sled-like feet and pointed arms that were just whimsical enough to suggest use by a certain jolly bearded man in a red coat.

Verner Panton is a Danish bridge to the swinging 1960s. In 1954, Panton made a chair entirely out of a single piece of molded plywood, so that the legs, seat, and back formed an S. The pieces were too heavy to be practical, more like examples of sculpture than seating. But technology caught up with Panton in the 1960s, when the U.S. furniture maker Herman Miller produced a similar-looking Panton chair out of molded plastic. In the 1960s, Panton explored the cone shape, designing a table that rested on an inverted cone, as well as a cone-shaped chair made of zinc wire, whose see-through frame held a vibrantly colored cushioned seat and backrest.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)



This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Buffalo Architecture and History

Buffalo Architecture and History

Chuck LaChiusa's wonderful guide to the architecture and history of Buffalo, NY, also happens to host an impressive… [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]



This beautiful site showcases the collection of Stanley and Polly Stone of Fox Point, Wisconsin, consisting of earl… [read review or visit site]

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

This huge online database from the Speed Art Museum is a rich trove of beautiful photos and reference information o… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

DIY bloggers update their home, with help from a TV design pro
The Seattle Times, October 24th

It's anchored by a Room & Board tufted-back sofa with midcentury modern curves and a contemporary blue steel-colored area rug from Loloi. Bornsztein re-covered and restored two Danish modern chairs — one of which was passed down from his father...Read more

'Boutique' bowling alley coming to Norwalk
Greenwich Time, October 24th

Designed by Studio Lemonade, Bowlmor Norwalk will sport a mid-century modern look, and lighting from Sputnik lamps and vintage sconces will create an intimate, relaxed ambiance. Unlike traditional bowling alleys, the lanes at Bowlmor Norwalk will have...Read more

Stores We Love: Branch Birdie
The Portland Mercury, October 24th

You'll also find a small rack dedicated to vintage wears, a shelf filled with beautifully handmade Kantha quilts from rural India, and a few items representing the mid-century modern inspired design aesthetic, Fishes Eddy/Todd Oldham-collab drinking...Read more Has Introduced A Guide To Pairing Mid Century Modern ...
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), October 24th

Mid century modern furniture is usually paired either with a very retro style or an incredibly modern one; by and large, there isn't much middle ground between dark-wood-and-gem-tones and stark-lines-and-cool-colors. But has introduced a ...Read more

Critics' Picks: Oct. 24-30, 2014
Los Angeles Times, October 23rd

In fact, what makes this film distinctive is the adroit way it both subverts and enhances old-school expectations, grafting a completely modern sensibility onto thoroughly traditional material. For though they don't necessarily act in expected ways...Read more

Destination Design: Leesburg
Washington Post, October 23rd

Comb through stuff from many decades: mahogany dining tables and monogrammed 19th-century silver for traditionalists, mid-century modern for hipsters. There is also vintage clothing, coins and sports memorabilia. I spotted a ... Lucketts Store (42350...Read more

Margaret Russell and David Rosenblatt Celebrate The Launch Of Robert ...
Forbes, October 22nd

“We're off to a pretty good start: we already have the biggest aggregation of high-end design, mostly in the furniture industry. We started out as a Mid-Century Modern specialist and we've continued to expand to Modern. We are adding new categories...Read more

Chairs by Danish midcentury modern designer
The Desert Sun, September 27th

Because 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Wegner's birth, Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Son, the largest manufacturer of Wegner's pieces in the world, collaborated with British fashion designer Paul Smith and textile-maker Maharam to ...Read more