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]

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]

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]

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]

Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Artful Shopper: The Curiosity Shop
The News-Press, November 25th

We now offer some small pieces of furniture. We have mid-century modern furniture, tables, lamps and chairs. We currently have a 1920s beautiful wrought iron chaise lounge. We also sell glassware, artwork and vintage toys. We have a few pieces of...Read more

The Man Who Wants to Make NY's Art World Obsolete
Observer, November 25th

Under his guidance, the museum has mounted major permanent public installations by Chris Burden and Michael Heizer, widely expanded the collection, nearly doubled the size of the board and is pushing an expansion that will bring its mid-century modern...Read more

A Very Hiles Holiday
417mag, November 25th

Of course, Amy and Travis added plenty of furniture and décor to make it their own, especially during the holiday season. “I've always loved to decorate,” Amy says. “My Grandma Giefer was an amazing decorator, and my mom has the same talent. ... with...Read more

Grayson Home
417mag, November 25th

This friend has some amazing one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, and he's paired them with new mid-century modern furnishings to create a look worthy of a Dwell magazine cover. He also has all the latest cool-kid gadgets you wish you could have yourself...Read more

Vintage flea market returns to Brooklyn Arts Center
Port City Daily, November 24th

This year's sale includes dozens of booths with items ranging from Danish modern pieces and campy memorabilia to shabby chic furniture and 70s garb–and lots of upcycled treasures, art and more in between. The Holiday Flea at BAC kicks off from 3 to 9 ...Read more

5 Decor Secrets From the Set of 'Empire' News, November 24th

I was buying a mid-vintage couch in an antiques shop and decided to update it to a more high-end Mid-Century Modern look. By the time I ... The “Empire” set doesn't use many props—it's all real furniture, shopped for and often upgraded by the set...Read more

She makes a tiny chair, he eats a taco, she braids a lock. Every. Single. Day.
Washington Post, November 24th

“And then the third day was the first time I was sort of seeking something specific,” which ended up being a mid- century modern lounge chair made from a Chick-fil-A box. She posted a photo of each miniature to Instagram (@laurenrapp), and after...Read more

Clawson consignment shop all about mid-century modern
The Detroit News, November 23rd

On Friday, Weiner officially opens ModMart, a 3,000-square-foot resale and consignment shop on 14 Mile in Clawson that sells exclusively mid-century modern furniture, lighting and accents. A grand opening for the store, which also includes a workshop...Read more