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

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Clubs & Associations

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Nordic design drives new look for Stressless®
NEWS.GNOM.ES, October 20th

SOMERSET, N.J., Oct. 20, 2014 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ — Stressless® unveiled today at High Point Market six 2015 recliner and sofa styles, some equipped with the new BalanceAdapt® comfort technology, along with fresh options for color and coverings...Read more

Shape of the times: Triangle motifs trending in design
Detroit Free Press, October 19th

One of the designs, Hex Hex, is available at luxury contemporary furniture shop Ligne Roset. Particularly striking is the harmony of the ... "Part of this is related to (the popularity) of mid-century modern style. A focus on less fussy, precious or...Read more

At the Sacramento Valley Museum: That's amazing!
Sacramento Bee, October 18th

Montage of E Street: Garrison's Vestiges antiques store, Granzella's restaurant, the vintage fire station and city hall, a mural of the town in more bustling times, the mid-century-modern sign outside of Louis Cairo's Steakhouse, a lone palm tree where...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

We made our ranch-style home our own
Boston Globe, October 18th

I plan on Danish modern.” At the time I wondered at the realtor's lengthy pause. I still cringe at the memory. Well, we bought the embankment ranch in the middle of nowhere. I considered the large, wooded and private lot it sat on a redeeming feature...Read more

Local, national experts agree it's a great time to make your interiors your own
The Southern, October 16th

“With all these color choice, gray is still a very important neutral,” Rowe said. “It lends itself nicely to mid-century modern. It's a great background for adding a pop of color in furniture and accessories, like the Pantone Color of the Year, radiant...Read more

Review: 'The Black House' restaurant is another Durham jewel
News & Observer, October 16th

Their contents are a de facto museum of contemporary art and Danish modern furniture, and the landscaped grounds a veritable botanic garden. The diverse collection of dining and drinking venues scattered about the grounds were phased in, starting with ...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