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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Platform buildingbestofneworleans.com, September 16th
Fans of mid-century modern style appreciate their low, clean profiles. People who live in small spaces gravitate toward platform beds with built-in drawers for storage. And there are others who simply appreciate what furniture maker Shaun Wilkerson...Read more
Former Wayfair.com Executive Launches New Furniture StartupFurniture World Magazine (press release), September 15th
Created in Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Maine, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Georgia, Homespun's furniture will reflect styles ranging from classic Shaker, traditional, and farmhouse styles to mid-century, modern and...Read more
Up Close and PersonalPacket Online, September 15th
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
New York City's new openingsTelegraph.co.uk, September 15th
Great music, better cocktails and a notoriously tight door policy make it seem pretty much like any other club in the city, but the design and décor sets it apart: polished lacquered furniture, funky zebra print furnishings, several garish “signature...Read more
Names and Faces: Craftsman elected officer of national guildHickory Daily Record, September 15th
Demonstrations included caning pattern variations, blind and double caning, rushing and Danish cord. Speakers offered .... The Seat DoKtor, located in Bethlehem, offers chair caning, rushing, splint weaving and minor repairs for antique and modern chairs...Read more
Shove over, please, I want a ride, tooSFGate, September 15th
The mayor's talk utilized the technical wizardry of modern show-and-tell. But the real issues he was discussing are those of every mayor in every city, ancient as Rome, ... them in exchange for a beard trim. But trader beware, they're in Danish. -- Oh...Read more
Sage Eldercare in Summit volunteers restore eight Danish dining room chairsThe Star-Ledger, September 11th
SAGE's Furniture Restoration Workshop in Summit recently had the opportunity to re-cane eight Danish modern dining room chairs that were unique — the back rest was double-sided with cane, which meant that the woven areas on both sides had to be done ...Read more
Mid-century modern furniture shop to open in College ParkBungalower, September 10th
Modern Redemption (Facebook) plans to open a new mid-century modern furniture shop along Edgewater Drive in College Park. The new shop will be located next to Apenberry's at 3455 Edgewater Drive in the space previously occupied by Feather Your ...Read more