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

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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

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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]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

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Classic Modern

Classic Modern

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Fox takes 1st in VT Fine Furniture Fest
The Manchester Journal, October 22nd

Fox's chair is in the Danish style, modeled on the work of Hans Wegner. "It's an honor to have ... The Vermont Woodworking School is a woodworking and furniture-making school located in a historic barn turned modern woodworking facility. The school...Read more

Margaret Russell and David Rosenblatt Celebrate The Launch Of Robert ...
Forbes, October 22nd

“We're off to a pretty good start: we already have the biggest aggregation of high-end design, mostly in the furniture industry. We started out as a Mid-Century Modern specialist and we've continued to expand to Modern. We are adding new categories...Read more

Furniture makers expand their lines
Lexington Dispatch, October 22nd

Younger Furniture in Thomasville, best known for its mid-century modern upholstery, entered the occasional table business for the first time this market with the introduction of the Meter table collection. Customers have a choice of a dark gunmetal or...Read more

Case goods offer mix-and-match at High Point Market
Furniture Today, October 22nd

Stanley Furniture says the approach is working with its mid-century modern-inspired Crestaire, a 68-piece contemporary leaning collection that draws inspiration from an original Crestaire line the company sold in the mid-1960s. Made with American...Read more

Some fine finds at two new secondhand shops in Everett
HeraldNet, October 22nd

First-time visitors might be surprised by the inventory, from an 1880s English sideboard to a sleek mid-century modern Barcelona chair. Items are donated or ... It carries some furniture but also has rooms filled with clothing, shoes and jewelry. There...Read more

Ikea's Halloween Tribute Video Is Truly Terrifying
Mic, October 22nd

Labyrinthine showrooms, massive crowds, the daunting prospect of assembling furniture, Swedish meatballs: It's enough to want to make you run out of there screaming. Luckily, Ikea has a sense of humor about its horrifying potential. The Scandinavian ...Read more

Home office offered standing alone or as part of groups
Furniture Today, October 21st

Hooker Furniture is receiving positive response to its mid-century modern and Scandinavian-inspired Studio 7H collection, which includes a number of pieces that offer office functionality. These items can fit as easily into a living or dining room...Read more

Chairs by Danish midcentury modern designer
The Desert Sun, September 27th

Because 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Wegner's birth, Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Son, the largest manufacturer of Wegner's pieces in the world, collaborated with British fashion designer Paul Smith and textile-maker Maharam to ...Read more