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]

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Naples downtown abounds with secondhand treasures
The News-Press, October 29th

Treasure Island dazzles the senses upon entry — glimmer-shimmer-tinkle-sparkly everywhere — jewelry, glassware, figurines, festive fiesta ware, a wall full of china and another entirely of clocks, mid-century modern furniture and accessories from...Read more

Your Sex Confession Is Her Screenplay
Daily Beast, October 29th

published about three dozen brief erotic films on XConfessions such as “I Fucked My Boss,” “I Pegged My Boyfriend,” and even “I Fucking Love IKEA,” which explores one woman's unique fantasy of watching her boyfriend assemble Scandinavian furniture...Read more

Buyers talk accessories at HAT retailer breakfast
Home Accents Today, October 28th

furniture chains arrived ready to talk. Home Accents Today retailer breakfast. The event, held Monday morning, Oct. 20, 2014 at the String & Splinter Club in Historic Market Square, was sponsored by Control Brand, manufacturer of mid-century modern ...Read more

Up Close and Personal
Packet Online, October 27th

Spanning 4,000 square feet on the second floor, Umbrella is a treasure trove of not only antiques, but also inspiring pieces ranging from mid-century modern furniture and one-of-a-kind industrial lighting to unexpected oddities and curiosities. Its...Read more

Bellevue Mission Antiques reopens after flood
Omaha World-Herald, October 25th

After 30 years of experience in the business, Aken said she's seeing a market for furniture from the 1960s “Mod” era, and a lot of interest in mid-century modern furnishings have become en vogue again. So has the movement for re-purposing old furniture...Read more

Edgewood made, bringing manufacturing back in Kensington, October 24th

The two are influenced by Danish design and modern furniture, and by forms and patterns found in nature - as in a credenza Dubinsky made that's modeled after the knots and grains in wood. But their biggest influence is craftsman Wharton Esherick, who ...Read more

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

In a South End townhouse condo, a loft-like aesthetic
Boston Globe, October 18th

She scored a Danish-style modern coffee table on Craigslist from a restorer in Cambridge who focuses on mid-century modern furniture. The Steinway baby grand and the guitar are Todd's, while the room's numerous geometric accessories reflect both her ...Read more