KAARE KLINT: Leaving a Big Design Footprint

Kaare Klint - Photo by Le Klint

Kaare Klint was just the man behind classics such as Safari Chair and Faaborg Chair. In his lifetime, he was referred to as the father and creator of Danish furniture design. Kaare Klint was born by Peder Klint, who happened to be an architect. Consequently, exposure to architecture was part and parcel of his early development. As far as Danish architecture is concerned, Klint made a great contribution mostly as a furniture designer.

Kaare Klint Biography and Education

Kaare Klint among his drawings – Photo by Le Klint

Kaare Klint was born on 15 December 1888 in Copenhagen. As at that time, he was a struggling painter who wanted to dump his artistic job for the more lucrative job of architecture.

Kaare was a famous Danish artist, furniture designer, and architect of his generation. In 1903, he began his apprenticeship as a painter but quickly settled for architecture, on the ground that he wanted to follow the footstep of his father, who was also a successful architect of his time. He started his architecture career as an apprentice to his father, who had great authority over his later work.

Beginning in 1893, Klint was practicing his apprenticeship career as a furniture maker. He also attended classes at technical school, furniture school, and the Artists’ Studio Schools, under the supervision of Johan Rohde. He was later sent to another person called Carl Petersen before his father who finished his earliest architectural project in 1896 taught him more about the architectural trade.

Klint decided to learn the human body dimensions and movements so that he can approach his duty of a furniture designer in the right dimensions. As far as drawing is concerned, he had a great talent and became an expert as a result of his analytical approach to his projects and was highly respected for materials and quality.

Klint’s Design Career

Kaare Klint’s The Faaborg Chair – Photo by Danish Design Store

Klint designed the Faaborg Chair in 1914, and this was his first piece of furniture as a furniture designer. This chair was made for the Museum in Faaborg that year. Since then, he had designed furniture and fittings for some other museums. He went on to design quite a lot of furniture that made him an icon as far as Danish craftsmanship is concerned. The Safari chair of 1933 and the Propeller stool that was designed in 1930, but rolled out in 1962, were part of the work that made Klint popular in the furniture design field.

He was the brain behind the conversion and remodeling of the Frederiks Hospital to Danish Museum from 1921 to 1926. In addition, he used mahogany to produce a chair for the museum in 1927. This work was enthused by English 18th-century chairs.

A fun fact about this project is that the authority and management of the museum named the Cafeteria “Klint” to honour him for his creativity and hard work.

The creative nature and carefully researched furniture designs exhibited by Klint were based on making use of high-quality materials, craftsmanship, proportions adapted to the human body, and functionality.

Some of his remarkable works and projects are:

  • Propeller Stool (1927)
  • Safari Chair (1933)
  • Deck Chair ( 1933)
  • Church Chair (1936)
  • Circle Bed (1938)

The circle bed featured curved sides and rounded ends, with hand-woven textiles. Klint also designed organs, lamps, and textiles.

Klint established a furniture school in 1924. As a result, he had a strong influence on Danish furniture, stimulating other designers.

Kaare Klint’s Safari Chair – Photo by 1stDibs

He was appointed a professor at the school of arts, Copenhagen in 1924, where he co-founded the School of Furniture Design. In his lifetime, Kaare Jensen Klint was a powerful theoretical and analytical temperament. As a matter of fact, he specifically passed his careful methodology over to his students at that time.

He was of the notion and believed that it was studies of materials, technology and function that would be the determinant for aesthetic design. He emphasized the good materials and a perfect craftsmanship process.

It was the teachings and the way Klint was thinking the designs that actually influenced and encouraged quite a lot of furniture designers of his generation and those who determined what was to become the golden era of Danish design otherwise referred to as the mid-century modern design from 1945 to 1975.

The Klint School was an answer to the central European functionalism utilization of easy processes and new materials. He was in a very cordial cooperation with Rud. Rasmussen Carpentry, which still produces a lot of his classic furniture designs in the present day.

Finishing the Uncompleted projects of His Father

Kaare Klint’s Church Chair – Photo by Danish Design Store

After the demise of his father in 1930, Kaare Klint finished the monumental church project in Copenhagen. The construction began in 1921 but was not finished until 1940. On the other hand, Klint designed the Copenhagen Bethlehem Church, based on the sketches of his father. The church was built from 1935 to 1937.

In addition to the Faaborg chair and Safari chair, which were adjudged, his most famous furniture design was the Church chair aka Kirkestolen with French braid or woven seagrass. It was designed for the Bethlehem Church in 1930. This was the first Danish church, which used chairs as a replacement for benches. Church chair is still in production till date.

Finally, Kaare Klint’s biography cannot be concluded without talking about a small family tradition from Kaare’s childhood home. During that period, the folded paper screens were just produced for him and for the use of his friends. But due to the high demand of the folded paper, Kaare Klint and his brother put them into production in 1943, under the name Le Klint shades.

Le Klint by Kaare Klint – Photo by Panik Design

These Lampshades were sold at a store where Kaare Klint himself produced the furniture and was managed by his niece. His niece, Kaare Klint, as well as other architects, supplied drawings for the pleated screens, which continued to claim their place in the lighting industry.

Kaare Klint, the great Danish furniture designer and architect, aka the father of modern Danish furniture design, continued his career as a professor. His furniture style was characterized by the use of the best materials of his time, superb craftsmanship, clean and pure lines. Kaare Klint died on 28 March 1954.