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.

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

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Where to Outfit Your Nursery
D Magazine, August 27th

The store houses everything you need to outfit a nursery, including changing tables, custom upholstered gliders, colorful printed bedding sets from Auggie and Flink, and a vast collection of mid-century and contemporary cribs from Dwell Studio, Oeuf...Read more

4 Ways to Decorate Better Kids' Bedrooms
Wall Street Journal, August 27th

Other small revolutions include swapping ABC blocks for wares by Danish label Design Letters, which applies a vintage font by Arne Jacobsen to cups and storage containers, or combining investment pieces from the likes of French brand Perludi with...Read more

Buckhead condo unites high style with mod appeal
Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 27th

Interior design style: Mid-century modern with a tribal flair. Favorite interior design elements: Antique, Moroccan and modern rugs are throughout the condo, including the bathrooms. Blue, yellow and gray are prominent hues. “We're not tone-on-tone...Read more

Rainbow Springs a well-kept Missouri secret
The Edwardsville Intelligencer, August 27th

The house was done in the mid-century modern style, with ingenious touches. The fireplace ... Myron McKee of River of Life has preserved the lodge's historic furniture and artifacts, although he did update the heating and cooling system. A stone patio...Read more

IKEA donates 'makeover' to shelter for homeless families
Berkeleyside, August 27th

The families living in the McKinley Family Transitional House in Berkeley now have a lovely space from which to plot their move out from homelessness. IKEA, the Scandinavian furniture store with an outlet in Emeryville, recently donated $10,000 worth...Read more

Home & Design Mid-Century Modern's New Gold Standard
Houstonia Magazine, August 26th

The list of modern and contemporary furniture designs that have become household names is a short one: Philippe Starck's Louis Ghost Chair, the Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Noguchi Table, the iconic recliner by Ray and Charles ...Read more

Liberty & 33rd antique furniture store opens in South Bend
South Bend Tribune, August 26th

The Cramers have just about finished staging several hundred or more pieces of furniture. The furniture spans time and styles from 18th century and Victorian on through mid-Century modern. A 200-year-old hand-carved walnut hutch from England, ...Read more

Fun or not, toys sometimes reflect parents' politics
Columbus Dispatch, August 23rd

Is my furniture valuable? A: Midcentury modern furniture, also called Danish modern, was heavily influenced by Scandinavian designers, and the pieces sell for high prices. You have a dining room buffet-china cabinet, made by Morganton Furniture Co...Read more