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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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

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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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Classic Modern

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Northridge 'Great Streets' program bringing city's initially protected bicycle ...
New York Recorder, March 27th

Bicyclists near Cal State Northridge may possibly soon ride safer as Los Angeles creates its initial parking-protected bicycle lanes on a busy boulevard in the San Fernando Valley.A mile-long stretch of Reseda Boulevard west and south of the crowded ...Read more

How Latin America contributed to mid-century modern design
Financial Times, March 27th

At the time, Latin America was home to a lesser-known but influential group of designers who poured their feverish creativity, and exhilaration at the advance of modernity, into ceramics, textiles and furniture — objects now capturing the attention of ...Read more

Behold, Tadao Ando's 'Glass Jewel Box' NYC Condo Building
Curbed NY, March 27th

All homes will have floor-to-ceiling windows, floors made of 250-year-old Danish oak with 20-inch-wide (!) planks. Several features are design to give the homes a sense of fluidity ... I tease but actually think it's beautiful -- until people put their...Read more

Daughter beats father in feud at shareholder's meeting
Irish Independent, March 27th

She also opened small shops specialising in Scandinavian furniture and aimed for more cheaper offerings. "In order to build on the strengths of the past 40 years as a business, we need to implement some reforms to keep up with today's consumers," said ...Read more

Danish furniture exhibit opening at Figge
Quad-Cities Online, March 26th

Iconic examples of 20th-century furniture design will be on display with "Danish Modern: Design for Living," an exhibit starting Saturday at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport. It was organized by the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn...Read more

A Danish Furniture Purveyor Unveils a Dramatic New Showroom
Architectural Digest (blog), March 25th

Carl Hansen & Son, the manufacturer of classic Danish modern furniture designed by the likes of Hans Wegner, Kaare Klint, and Ole Wanscher has alighted in Los Angeles in a voluminous showroom nestled in Culver City's landmark Helms Bakery building...Read more

Danish Modern: Design for Living opens March 28 at Figge
Quad-Cities Online, March 23rd

Iconic examples of 20th century furniture design will be coming to the Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second St., Davenport, beginning Friday, March 28, with the exhibition Danish Modern: Design for Living...Read more

Inspired Interiors: Mid-Century Modern stars in 2015
Indianapolis Star, February 26th

Mid-Century Modern continues its rise in popularity, both the real deal and 21st-century interpretations. From classic outdoor styles revisited to Danish modern chairs and entertainment consoles right out of the 1950s, Mid-Century Modern furniture is...Read more