Hans J. Wegner was one of the most ingenious and prolific furniture designers of his time. He was the brain behind the Danish Modern and second to none in chair-making. His maiden designs got the attention of his people around the time he finished his cabinet-making apprenticeship. Wegner relocated to Copenhagen, where he enrolled in the School of Arts and Crafts before embarking on his architect career. A few years later, the maiden edition of China Chair was designed, one of which was adjudged the most successful design of all time. Today, all the major design museums in the world have Hans J. Wegner’s furniture in their collections.
Poul Kjaerholm started his career as an apprentice cabinet maker before going to the Copenhagen School for the Applied Arts, where he studied furniture design. He was a very eloquent man. As a result of his natural authority, he began an exceptional career as an instructor without stopping his education with his lecturers. Kjaerholm eventually became head of the Institute for Design and later a professor in 1976. The furniture pieces Kjaerholm designed represented a mix of new technologies, techniques and craftsmanship. He used ordinary materials and steel frames in his work. The products Kjaerholm created would then remain the symbol of classics minimalist design.
In his lifetime, Kaare Klint was referred to as the creator of Danish furniture design. Having a successful architect for a father exposed him to architecture from a young age. This also influenced him to settle for a career in architecture, besides the fact that he was also struggling as a painter. Klint started his career as an apprentice to his father and attended classes at a few schools. His analytical approach to his projects, the use of high-quality materials, and superb craftsmanship influenced quite a lot of furniture designers of his generation. Klint’s combination of his creative nature and carefully researched furniture designs made him the father of modern Danish furniture.
Paul McCobb was an American furniture and industrial designer best known for his contributions to modern furniture design. Paul studied both drawing and painting but was cut short when World War II began. After the war, he developed his interest in modern furniture design and met Mesberg at work. Together, they would create and sell furniture throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Paul wanted to design furniture that was accessible to a lot of people. Because of his designs, he received several awards and became a consultant for a number of leading companies. Nowadays, McCobb’s creations are highly sought after by collectors, and reproductions are still available for sale.
There were many furniture designers who helped to make Danish furniture achieve international acclaim; One of such persons was Borge Mogensen. He was one of the most recognised furniture designers who redefined the future of furniture designs. Mogensen’s education in the art of furniture design was quite rich. After working as a cabinet maker, he studied furniture design for 2 years before he underwent training at the Royal Danish Academy of fine arts for another 4 years. Immediately after graduating, he became a studio manager, received various recognitions, and finally set up his own design studio. His collaboration with Professor Klint led to his famous work in the designs of home storage.
Danish furniture designers are known for a lot of breathtaking works of fine art and Ole Wanscher no doubt made a name for himself. Wanscher studied under the legendary Professor Kaare Klint and worked for him for 3 years. He also set up his furniture design office around this time. He had a simple goal of producing furniture designs using all that he learned from a wide variety of sources. He later worked with a few notable designers and produced several masterpieces. To this day, Wanscher’s furniture is regarded as modern classics as they combined a perfect blend of sophisticated design and functionality with an overall keen interest in detail.
Jean Prouve was a French designer, architect, builder, and engineer best known for his use of industrial manufacturing technology and blending it into his works. Jean was heavily influenced by a group called “I’Ecole de Nancy”, in which his artistic parents were a part of. The group believed that art should be available to everybody. In 1923, he already opened his own workshop. He would then open several workshops and studios in his career. In the years leading up to World War II until the war ended, Jean’s architectural business benefited from the demands of the time. Jean always incorporated industrial and engineering elements into his designs, and the industrial production methods in his projects were groundbreaking.
Nanna Ditzel, a name that’s well known in the Danish furniture industry, was already showcasing her work while she was still a student at the Danish Royal Academy. It was also at the academy where she met her husband, Jorgen. They both desired to create a living environment that was simple and comfortable to live in. Although they excelled in this idea, it was not the launching part of their career. Their design gradually evolved to fit into almost every aspect of the modern home. Nanna would become notable for both her furniture and jewellery designs, which won her a lot of national and international awards.
When talking of people who have contributed immensely towards the development of Danish design and its modern idea, the name Finn Juhl would come to mind. He aspired to study art history at a reputable academy, but his father was against this decision. Instead, he was advised to study architecture, which was regarded as more lucrative during that time. Juhl’s inspiration came from the wonderful and purposeful buildings he saw at the Stockholm Show. By the 1940s, Finn Juhl was already at the peak of his career. With his innovative designs, he became a leading furniture industrial designer and portrayed Denmark as ground-breaking in the area of furniture and artistic design.
Harry Bertoia was an Italian-born American graphic artist, sculptor and designer. Even as a child, Bertoia would already be asked to design embroidery patterns for wedding days. An art teacher was impressed by his talent and offered to tutor the young Bertoia. But this did not last long, as the teacher realised that he had nothing new to teach him. The teacher suggested further training abroad. Bertoia travelled to the US and got scholarships to schools of art in different States. He also worked with famous designers like Eames. Harry Bertoia would create all throughout the 1960s and the 1970s. He was so in demand that he had to turn down commissions and exhibits.
Arne Emil Jacobsen was a famous Danish furniture designer and architect who was known for his plethora of works with international acclaim. Inspired by his mother, he wanted to become a painter but he was discouraged by his dad who believed a career in architecture would provide a more stable job. So, Jacobsen was admitted into an academy of fine arts where he studied architecture. It did not take long for his talent to become noticed. He won a silver medal for a chair he designed. He would continue to receive multiple awards throughout his career, and his works would continue to inspire many architects in our time.
Marcel Lajos Breuer was a designer and architect best known for his design of the iconic Wassily Chair, as well as his contribution to modern architecture. He left art school after finding out he didn’t like the study of painting and became an apprentice to a Viennese architect instead. Throughout his career, Breuer’s architecture and design underwent several, but distinct and recognisable phases. Besides being an architect and an educator, he was also a very good furniture designer. Ultimately, Breuer made a huge impact on modernist architecture and design. In fact, his furniture designs are so influential and popular that they are still being produced by some furniture companies today.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-American architect who was best known for “skin and bones” architecture, as he called it. Mies never had any formal training but he grew up helping his father with construction work. By the age of 15, he was already apprenticed to a number of architects around town. In 1913, Mies opened up his own shop in Lichterfelde. The First World War derailed his career for a little while as Mies served in the military. After the war, he came back and started to design in a more modernist style. By the mid-1920s, Mies had established himself as a leading avant-garde architect.
If we think of the aesthetics of the 80’s, we immediately make a mental image of bright colours, graphic patterns, and asymmetrical shapes. We can thank the Memphis Group for this. One of them was Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer. After working with his father on restoring destroyed buildings during the war, he moved to Milan to set up his own design studio. During this time, he experimented with working on a variety of media. Sottsass, with his experimental mind, created the Memphis Group as a way to join forces with his colleagues who share his design principles. Ultimately, he changed the way people see mundane objects.
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and designer. His famous designs would include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri and the Womb Chair. This neo-futuristic designer started receiving critical recognition when he was working with his father. He then went on and won several awards. The most notable of these awards was from an architectural competition for what would later be known as the Gateway Arch National Park. Aside from his architectural works, Eero also designed furniture, oftentimes including them in his architectural designs of building interiors. Despite his relatively short career, Eero is an indelible mark on architecture and his furniture designs are highly sought after up to this day.
Le Corbusier was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in Switzerland. He eventually acquired a French citizenship and got the pseudonym: Le Corbusier. Even though Jeanneret had no formal training as an architect, he designed numerous structures throughout Europe. Following his father’s footsteps, he first studied watch engraving under Charles L’Eplattenier. Ironically, it was his teacher who got him into architecture. When he moved to Paris, he became busy with exhibits, lectures, publishing books, and architectural projects. Le Corbusier conceptualized new ways to classify furniture. Despite the controversies of his socio-political ties, one could argue that he played an immense role in the birth of modern design and architecture.
Today, Arne Jacobsen is remembered primarily for his furniture designs. However, he believed he was first and foremost […]