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]

Clubs & Associations

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

The Olin home in SLO: Simple, clean lines and openness
The San Luis Obispo Tribune, July 30th

She kept decorating to a minimum, adding a few pieces of contemporary furniture, some area rugs for comfort, and new art for the new walls. She favors “clean lines, simplicity, solid colors and mid-century modern looks,” she said. She prefers a few ...Read more

Two Kennett stores named Best of Philly
southern chester county weeklies, July 29th

As the edit staff described when searching for the best of the best, they “drove to East Jabib (i.e., Kennett Square) to discover what might possibly be my new favorite vintage furniture store.” ... “I specialize in mid-century, modern furnishings and...Read more

New edition and new brands for Home
Furniture News Magazine, July 29th

Creating simple, stylish accessories, Bloomingville has significantly expanded its offering of appealing Scandinavian furniture and is set to present a new collection of lamps, tables and chairs at Home. Also present will be the Belgian-based...Read more

Right at Home: Pop art packs decor punch
Greenwich Time, July 29th

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home décor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, ... Biaugust's whimsical little black upholstered chairs shaped like ponies, lambs and buffalo are available at Mollaspace. Here too is a...Read more

Dreaming of Don Draper at the Nordic Heritage Museum
KOMO News, July 28th

Do you miss Mad Men as much as I do? While you won't see Don draping himself over Hans J. Wegner's Round Chair, you can imagine it while viewing the Nordic Heritage Museum's current exhibition Danish Modern: Design for Living. Through the end of ...Read more

Estate Sale Roundup: July 24-27: Gas up the jalopy, it's your turn to drive.
Austin Chronicle, July 24th

You'll be ready then, for a large selection of mid-century modern maple furniture such as modern beds, dressers, end tables, china cabinet, maple table with six chairs and one leaf, and an assortment of small occasional mid-century modern tables...Read more

Polishing the Imperfection
New York Times, July 23rd

“Living in the Eichler, we collected a lot of Danish modern furniture,” Mr. DeLisle said. “But when we put it in here, it looked too perfect. This house seemed to want to hold more '70s and '80s things, and not feel so midcentury.” The couple set about...Read more

Vintage modern pieces skyrocket in popularity
Journal and Courier, July 19th

When it comes to vintage furniture trends, Heywood-Wakefield, Danish modern and Herman Miller mid-century modern pieces bring in top dollar for dealers and retailers. Even reproductions are big business. Retailers such as Ikea, West Elm and Urban ...Read more