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

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]

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Work of Charles and Ray Eames

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Classic Modern

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Recent News: Danish Modern Furniture

Source: Google News

Coming Soon: Cafe Max to Open Downstairs “Schulhaus”
303 Magazine, July 3rd

Mid-century modern furniture dots the room and is topped with kitschy accents such as vintage projectors, glass beakers and children's toys. Similarly schoolroom items such as chalkboards, metal lockers, and textbooks are also scattered throughout the...Read more

Lost River Modern: A West Virginia Cabin Provides a Retreat From Urban Chaos News, July 2nd

This 2,048-square-foot Danish modern home, located only two hours from Washington, DC, would be a perfect retreat for those seeking a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the nation's capital, says agent Jesse Halpern. The Lost River area of...Read more

Kaare Klint's Legendary Faaborg Chair Turns 100
Architectural Digest (blog), July 1st

In the history of Danish modernism, the Faaborg chair holds a special place. Designed by Kaare Klint for the Faaborg Museum, which opened in 1915, it was one of the first pieces of Danish furniture that expressed a new design language focused on simple ...Read more

Comings and Goings: Two eateries transformed
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 1st

Colie's Cafe at Pittsford Plaza is now Root 31 Café & Eatery. The new concept features a healthy menu with local ingredients focusing on sustainability. The café partners with farms that feature pasture-raised and grass-fed animals that produce dairy...Read more

Studio Oliver Gustav's Shocking Danish Designs
Wall Street Journal, July 1st

In Denmark, homeowners might pay several thousand dollars for a classic lounge chair or sofa from homegrown Midcentury Modern masters like Hans Wegner or Børge Mogensen. But splurging on the likes of a $300,000 bathtub, even for those who can ...Read more

The furniture fair is mad for modern, June 29th

Mid-century modern is having a moment, but it's not all about Mad Men. Americans, it seems, are feeling nostalgic, which may account for the popularity of Edison light bulbs, Mason jars and handlebar mustaches (at least among the hipster set...Read more

Danish Modern Home Design Meets American Comfort
Westchester Magazine, June 23rd

Fischer responded to this aspect of the home's architecture, finding the airy quality similar to Scandinavian design. In every part of the house, Scandinavian design components mix with American furnishings. That contrast is most evident in the great...Read more

Exploring the Westside's home shops with designer Teri Duffy
Atlanta Magazine, June 23rd

And after moving into a 25,000-square-foot showroom in 2013, the store has plenty of room to display its sleek Poliform kitchens, modern furniture, and clever accessories. Clover chair by Ron Arad for Driade, $585. 670 14th Street, more