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”)



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Herman Miller Consortium Collection

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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

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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

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

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

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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]

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Work of Charles and Ray Eames

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Classic Modern

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

10 kids' toys that used to be great but aren't any more, November 28th

The Danish toy brand is under fire from traditionalists who say that its current kits, tied to franchises like Star Wars or Minecraft, involve following strict instructions to build specific models with specialist pieces. They argue this is stifling...Read more

'Cigar store Indian' covers wide range of figurines
HeraldNet, November 27th

A: Your two-piece bedroom set was made by Franklin Shockey Co. of Lexington, N.C. The furniture company opened in 1941 and appears to have operated into the early 1960s. Shockey made a line of mid-century modern pine furniture that collectors hunt for ...Read more

Gift guide: Humor books
SFGate, November 26th

The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers That Transformed an Undeserving World (Little, Brown; 262 pages; $26). “Uncomfortable Scandinavian Furniture You Can't Afford” — and more than 250 such cover stories you won't find elsewhere. Kama Sutra ...Read more

Arango store reopens in South Miami, November 25th

The little shop that introduced Miami to modern high-design housewares, furnishings and accessories reopened this week in a storefront on Sunset Drive to the delight of its legion of acolytes, about 200 of whom crowded an opening reception at the store...Read more

Ikea Jumps on Retro Furniture Trend by Reissuing Its Own Designs
Slate Magazine (blog), November 24th

Midcentury modern and Scandinavian furniture designs seem as ubiquitous, relevant, and on trend as they did in the middle of the 20th century, and even more so as our gadgets get more futuristic and our interiors have gone decidedly retro (helped along...Read more

An obsession with mid-century modern furnishings, November 21st

Henri Spiegel, a retired entertainment lawyer with high-profile clients such as Julio Iglesias and the Warner Bros. movie studio, started collecting mid-century modern furnishings when she was living in Los Angeles and bought Peter Rabe's From Here to ...Read more

A New Subscription Box for Scandinavian Home Goods
New York Times, November 19th

I'm not Scandinavian. I have just always loved modern furniture and modern design. When I went to law school, I had a really hard time in North Carolina because modern is not the style there. The only thing on Craigslist was sleigh beds. Instead of...Read more

An Artist Who's Using 18th-Century Techniques to Make Decidedly Modern ..., November 6th

Dallas artist and furniture maker Dan Phillips, 36, makes modern furniture the same way people did 200 years ago. Utilizing 18th-century furniture-making techniques and designing his work in the vein of mid-century modern pieces, his style is distinct...Read more