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]

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]

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]

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

Pieces of me: Julie Danz, jewellery designer and one half of Juvi Designs
Irish Times, April 29th

It showcases my love for mixing: mid-century furniture with modern artwork and Victorian bedroom chairs. These were a wedding present from my parents, which I covered in a fabric from Liberty London. I painted one wall with blackboard paint, so the...Read more

Patti Payne's Cool Pads: $1.2M midcentury modern designed by NBBJ architect ...
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle), April 29th

A rare midcentury modern waterfront home on 1 acre with 230 feet of private waterfront with beach has just come on the market for $1.2 million. Located in Poulsbo, there are also two adjoining 1-acre properties available for $120,000 each that can be ...Read more

Vintage market coming to The Grove
Chicago Tribune, April 29th

With 50 vendors selling vintage and upcycled items, including home goods, gifts, furniture, clothing and jewelry, the market will also include a plant sale, furniture painting demonstrations, live music, and food trucks and booths. "Our vendors are...Read more

The design fair that carved a niche
Financial Times, April 29th

Mid-century modern design has been a market mainstay in recent years. The online think-tank DeTnk collates results from five auction houses for its annual design report. Its 2015 assessment, covering 2014, shows that post-2000 pieces had an average...Read more

Dolce & Gabbana make fridges as home-ware products get designer makeover
Daily Mail, April 29th

His furniture, newly launched at Harrods, is flamboyant and pricey. The quirky ... If your home is less Las Vegas and far from Berlusconi bling, then look to contemporary clothing shop Cos and their collaboration with Danish design brand Hay. This is a ...Read more

How Brazil's design scene has developed its own distinct beat
Financial Times, April 29th

Feitosa's approach has been to embrace all eras — from the Portuguese antiques of the colonial era to mid-century modern and contemporary design. “I wanted to offer an overview of ... What Tozzi calls “that bossa nova feeling” is expressed in the...Read more

Spring High Point Market Look Book
Huffington Post, April 28th

Ave Home: A High Point new comer, with four collections inspired by Louis XV, Swedish Gustavian, Hollywood Regency, and Mid-Century Modern style. ... Baker Furniture showcases the work of Paris-based, AD100 designer Jean-Louis Deniot...Read more

Jean McClelland: Minimalism attracts enthusiasts of vintage Scandinavian furniture
Huntington Herald Dispatch, April 23rd

Photo by Iglazier618/courtesy of Wikimedia Commons This table and chairs designed by Kaare Klint is displayed at the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen. Though Scandinavian furniture design is still considered vintage rather than antique, ...Read more