Poul Kjærholm - Danish, 1929-1980

Architect as well a designer, Poul Kjærholm apprenticed as a joiner, attended the School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Copenhagen; 1942-1952, and , while beginning his career as a designer and teacher, continued his studies at the furniture school of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; 1953-1959.

Virtually all his furniture was created for mass production, principally for E. Kold Christensen in Copenhagen beginning in 1955. The simplicity of intent and structural honesty of his work connect him with the International Style, although it presents a fresh interpretation of that tradition. The extensive series of chairs, sofas and tables he designed over a twenty-fiveyear period favored steel structure, but with natural upholstery-leather, cane, canvas; as early as 1953, however, he had experimented with more innovative materials, including colored cast aluminium, steel wire, and poured concrete. Kjærholm was awared the Lunnung Price in 1958, and a grand price and gold medal at, respectively, Milan’s XI Triennale in 1957 and XII Triennale in 1960.

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Børge Mogensen - Danish, 1914-1972

Børge Mogensen was born in Aalborg, Denmark. He started as a cabinetmaker in 1934, studied furniture design at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen from 1936–1938, then trained as an architect from 1938–1942 at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture graduating in 1942. From 1938-1943 he worked at various design studios in Copenhagen, including with Kaare Klint. 1942-1950 he was manager of FDB’s furniture design studio in Copenhagen and in 1945 was awarded the Bissen Scholarship, Denmark. 1945-1947, he was teaching assistant with Professor Kaare Klint at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, Copenhagen.

Continuing Kaare Klint’s innovative studies in how the size and proportion of objects should influence their design, Mogensen, collaborating with Grethe Meyer, produced a project in 1954 called the Boligens Byggeskabe (Construction Cupboards of the House), which introduced the idea of building shelving and storage units as part of a room, rather than purchasing and placing them in the space.

In 1950 he was awarded the Eckersberg Medal and in 1950-1972. In 1959 he left FDB’s furniture design studio to found his own design studio. His work has been featured in one-man exhibitions in Europe and the United States, and his many awards for design include the Eckersberg Medaillen 1950 and the C.F. Hansen medal 1972. He was married to Alice Mogensen 1916-2011, they had two sons.

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Ole Wanscher - Danish, 1903-1985

Ole Wanscher turned to the classic forms and reinvented them for modern times and means. He was a student of Kaare Klint, and later followed in his footsteps as Professor at the Furniture School at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen. Throughout his career Wanscher designed a number of elegant pieces in traditional materials that adopted modernism’s interest in mass-producing furniture that was affordable to a large percentage of people. Following his craftsman’s love of perfection, he also produced several luxury designs in limited editions. Wanscher came to the study of furniture design on trips through Egypt and Europe with his father who was researching the history of fine arts. In addition to the Egyptian furniture, Wanscher was heavily inspired by English period furniture, Greek and Chinese furniture. Along with other designers, like Finn Juhl and Børge Mogensen, Wanscher was developing the technique of the ‘unsupported arm,’ which gave the seat and back a somewhat unhinged and even animated quality and was used on this chair. He also designed a 1951 rocking chair for France and Søn with a curved, organic profile and a square rocking base. A 1960 folding ‘Egyptian Stool,’ mimicked the shape of a 3,000 year old stool, a form he probably came across on his early travels. In 1962 he designed a more luxurious chair in rare Brazilian rosewood, with a woven horsehair seat, reminiscent of a 1959 rosewood and leather armchair and ottoman for P. Jeppesen.

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Arne Jacobsen - Danish, 1902-1971

Born in Copenhagen in 1902, the Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen trained as a stonemason before studying architecture at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademie in Copenhagen until 1927. While still a student, Arne Jacobsen showed a chair he had designed at the important Paris “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in 1925 and was awarded a silver medal for it. Even today, Arne Jacobsen is best known for the chairs he designed.
For the firm of Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen designed the “Ant” (Model No. 3100: 1951-52), a chair whose name was inspired by the nipped in waist of the back as well as its thin tubular steel legs. In 1955 Arne Jacobsen designed a similar chair for Series 7 (Model No. 3107), which was one of the most commercially successful lines in chairs ever produced.

One of Arne Jacobsen’s most important buildings is the Royal SAS Hotel in Copenhagen (1956-60), for which he not only designed the seat furniture, (‘Egg’ chair and ‘Swan’ chair), but also all the rest of the interior, including lighting, cutlery, and even such details as ashtrays. It was followed by many other important buildings and designs. Between 1956 and 1965 Arne Jacobsen was a professor of architecture at the Skolen for Brugskunst in Copenhagen.

 

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Ron Arad - Israel, 1951

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Ron Arad studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art, 1971 to 1973. Later, he studied at the Architecture Association, London, being trained by Peter Cook and graduating in 1979. He is primarily known for his early furniture designs such as the Rover chair (recycled car seats set upon a frame of curved scaffolding poles), and his Well Tempered Chair. He has designed the Bookworm bookshelf and FPE chair for Kartell, Tom Vac Chairs for Vitra, upholstered sofas for Moroso and more recently the Baby Boop dishes for Alessi. For over 10 years he has been working as a lecturer in various industrial design departments and as an interior design lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London. Every year Aram holds an exhibition of his students’ work.

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Hans J. Wegner - Danish, 1914-2007

With his furniture of natural wood, simple, pure forms, expressive lines, high quality manufacture, and regard for tradition, Hans J. Wegner became synonymous with Danish modern design during the 1950s. Apprenticed at the age of fourteen to a cabinetmaker, Wegner worked in the trade between 1932 and 1935, and from 1936 to 1938 studied furniture design at the School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Copenhagen.

In 1940 he joined Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Arhus, to design the furniture for the new Arhus city hall. He started to work with ‘minister’ cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen in 1940 and showed his first furniture in the famous Hansen store on Bredgade 65 in 1941. The Copenhagen Museum of Art and Industry acquired the first Wegner chair in 1942. In 1943 he started his own design office in Gentofte. Hans J. Wegner is the most innovative and prolific of all Danish furniture designers. He received almost all major honors given to designers, from the Lunning prize in 1951 and the grand prix of the Milan Triennale in the same year.

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Nanna Ditzel - Danish, 1923-2005

Nanna Ditzel was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923. She trained as a cabinetmaker before going on to study at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She was always inspired by the challenges of new materials and techniques, and in the 50’s she experimented with split-level floor seating. Nanna was a pioneer in the fields of fiberglass, wickerwork and foam rubber, and in various disciplines such as cabinet making, jewellery, tableware, and textiles..

Nanna Ditzel was one of most renowned Danish designers, and throughout her life she was awarded numerous prizes including; in 1990, the Gold Medal in the International Furniture Design Competition, Japan, for “Bench for Two”, the ID-prize 1995 for “Trinidad”, which is Denmark’s highest design honour. She was Elected Honourable Royal Designer at Royal Society of Arts in London in 1996 and awarded the lifelong Artists’ Grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1998.

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Aldo van den Nieuwelaar - Dutch, 1944-2010

Dutch designer, industrial designer and sculptor Aldo van den Nieuwelaar studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Breda and then worked at various architectural firms in Amsterdam. He was inspired by the sober clarity of Gerrit Rietveld and De Stijl, the Bauhaus of the 1920s and minimalist art of the 1960s. In 1969 he started work as an independent designer, experimenting with geometry. He was a systematic modular designer. Characterized by geometric abstraction, a systematic approach and a minimal use of image resources he gets to an almost timid, more anonymous and everlasting product. Not fashionable. In designing his lamps, he took the source of light as his starting point and for this he strongly preferred using diffuse fluorescent light as it resembles daylight in its even and less distorting brightness. As can be seen with the ‘Circellamp’ and the ‘Outline’, these lamps are more ‘light objects’ with a strong spatial almost physical energy.

 

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Others

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Verner Panton - Danish, 1926-1998

A danish designer and architect who lives in Switserland, Verner Panton has worked in many areas and with many manufacturers, providing numerous designs.

Verner Panton studied at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen and worked as an associate with Arne Jacobsen. He opened his own design office in 1955 and created the first single-form injection molded plastic chair in 1960, edited by Herman Miller in 1967. He created truly innovative futuristic furniture and designs, using new technologies and materials.

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Martin Visser - Dutch, 1922-2009

Martin Visser studied Civil Engineering at the Technical School. Later he worked as an architectural draughtsman, designing his first furniture for a friend. He worked in the furniture department in De Bijenkorf, the famed department store in Amsterdam. Through his work for De Bijenkorf, Visser came into contact with De Ploeg Weavers and‘t Spectrum, and was asked by Spectrum to work for them as designer and head of collection in 1954.

Since the end of the ‘fifties, Martin Visser’s functional design approach has determined the look of the Spectrum collection. Developments in his furniture designs then ran parallel with the spirit of the collection (settee BR 02.7, armchairs SZ 01 and SZ 02, dining chairs SE 05, SE 06 and SE 0 and table TE 06.7).

Visser has a strong preference for craft-built furniture. Many of his designs have an industrial style, but are usually craft made. He also stretches techniques to the limit; he loves to make what is almost impossible!

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Gijs Bakker - Dutch,1942

Gijs Bakker was trained as a jewellery- and industrial- designer in Amsterdam and Stockholm. Bakker’s designs cover jewellery, home accessories and household appliances, furniture, interiors, public space and exhibitions.

He lectured at the Design Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Arnhem and the Delft University of Technology and has been a professor at The Design Academy in Eindhoven since 1987.
Together with Renny Ramakers he founded Droog Design in 1993. Bakker and Ramakers are Droog’s selectors and art directors.

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Arne Norell - Swedish, 1917-1971

Arne Norell (1917-1971) was a Swedish designer who  started his own workshop in Stockholm in 1954. In 1958 he moved the operation to Småland and started the company called Arne Norell Möbel AB.  He experimented with a number of combinations of materials, including turned wood, bentwood, leather, fabric and metal.

His best known design is the Ari easy chair in leather and spring steel. Norell died at age fifty-four and received the British Furniture Manufacturers’ Showpiece of the Year award posthumously.

Many of Norell’s designs were put into production after his death. His daughter Marie Norell-Möller and Thomas Möller now continue the family tradition started by Norell in the company known today as Norell Möbel AB. She designs sofas and armchairs and has won numerous awards. One of her chairs, the Ariadne, was inspired by her father’s Ari chair.

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Chan Kwok Hoï - Chinese, 1939-1990

Born in 1939 in Hong Kong, Kwok Hoï Chan was an endearing figure in international design. He began studies in architecture. In 1966 he immigrated to England where he worked on construction of the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner. He settled in France and began a long, fruitful collaboration with the Steiner company. Many of the works he created are considered part of the Pantheon of 1960s and 1970s design. He passed away in Hong Kong in 1990.

A symbolic figure of international design and a man resolutely rooted in his era, Kwok Hoï Chan retained the legacy of his Chinese roots. His models depict an imaginary alphabet borrowed from Chinese calligraphy. His hallmark: an offset tubular base that combines the functions of structure and suspension and defines the item’s silhouette.

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Klaas Gubbels - Dutch, 1934

Klaas Gubbels is a Dutch artist, currently residing in Arnhem. Most famous he is with his still lifes of tables, chairs and coffee pots.
In the 1950s Gubbels attended several courses. He follows from 1949 to 1951 at the Technical School in Rotterdam advertising painting an education, from 1951 to 1952 an evening course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam and studied from 1952 to 1958 on academy ” Art Practice ‘in Arnhem, where in addition he also evening classes in beeldhouwkunde volgde.

In the 1970s was Klaas Gubbels attached to the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, along with other painters and printmakers as Hannes Postma and Kees French sculptor.
In late 2004 / early 2005 Klaas Gubbels had a major retrospective exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem. He lives and works in Arnhem or in France.

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Jean Prouvé - French, 1901-1984

Jean Prouvé, a leading exponent of industrialized building, started out by serving an apprenticeship as a metal craftsman with Émile Robert, a creative blacksmith, between 1916 and 1919 before continuing his training with Szabo, another metal craftsman, in Paris until 1921.
In 1923 Jean Prouvé opened a workshop of his own in Nancy. Jean Prouvé received a great many commissions for metalwork, including the exquisite metal mounts he made for Émile Gallé’s vases. In 1924 Jean Prouvé made furniture from sheet iron, informed by a cool, functional aesthetic that caught Le Corbusier’s eye.
At the 1935 “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in Paris, where Jean Prouvé was an exhibitor, he met both Le Corbusier and Jean Jeanneret. Jean Prouvé also met their colleague, Charlotte Perriand, with whom he would design several pieces of furniture in the 1950s, including bookshelves of wood and sheet metal with irregularly arranged compartments to which colorfully painted backs and doors of wood and sheet metal were fitted.

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Robert Van Embricqs - Dutch

Robert van Embricqs is fascinated by the aesthetically pleasing, yet intricate complexity of the natural form. Finding inspiration for his designs in bone structure, plant life and movement, one question remained ever present: ‘to what degree is the object you’re creating capable of dictating its own design?’ This led him to develop a minimalistic design approach that can best be described as collaboration between designer and his material.

An important aspect of his design process is Van Embricqs’ conscious focus on marrying functionality with an aesthetically pleasing look. A conscious choice for functionality in design doesn’t necessarily mean one has to be burdened by conformity, let alone predictability.

Aside continuing his furniture line, Robert van Embricqs establishes flexible concepts on bigger scale in which movement creates interaction between the users and the architecture. He focused his attention on finding new ways to adapt the techniques he developed for outdoor and interior solutions.

His design approach gave him several awards for its Rising Chair including the Red Dot Design Award for Best Concept and Woodchallenge in the Netherlands, both Audience & Jury price. The Rising Chair became part of the National Centre of Visual Art in France and the Rising Table has been awarded with the Fubiz award 3th prize.

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Peter Hvidt & Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen - Danish, 1916-1986 & 1907-1993

Danish designer Peter Hvidt was trained as an architect and as cabinetmaker at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. In 1944 he both designed the “Portex” chair, one of the first stacking chairs to come out of Denmark, and opened a furniture design office with Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen. Throughout the latter part of the 1940s, Hvidt produced furniture that was basically very traditional, but which often manipulated the standards of furniture design in some very subtle way. A 1948 mahogany furniture set which included a desk, cupboard and chairs was criticized for the wide seat and armrests that Hvidt had added, which made it impossible to slide the chair under the desk. In 1950 he and Mølgaard-Nielsen designed the “AX” chair which became the major icon of their career. Inspired by the designs of Charles and Ray Eames, the “AX” chair was the first Danish chair with a seat and back made of double curved laminated wood. The chair was produced by Fritz Hansen and was built using Hansen’s process for laminate gluing, which was in turn borrowed from a technique used to make tennis rackets. The process gave way to expansive opportunities for mass production because it could be produced more quickly without compromising the standards for quality wood furniture. It helped to open up a successful market for Danish furniture that made the country a leader in modern design. This design also opened up an exciting new arena of exportation possibilities because it took into account the elements necessary to break down the item. The seat and back could be removed and packaged separately, basically dismantling the entire chair for easy shipping. The “AX” chair was built in several different variations, with and without armrests and with reversible leather upholstery instead of the wood seat. It was also accompanied by the “AX” table and was exhibited in 1951 as part of the “Good Design” show sponsored by the MoMA.

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Han Pieck - Dutch, 1923

Han Pieck developed the chair during World War II when he was at the Amsterdam School of Applied Arts under the famous designer Mart Stam, who previously taught at the Bauhaus. In 1946 and 1947 Pieck was with his partner Maarten van Houten at the Recovery Bank to 300,000 guilders from the Marshall Fund to set up a factory. He arranged a grain trader a fictitious order of 10,000 seats it from the opposition some time owed and went with a few employees to work in Ommen.
Successful the company was not but Pieck remembers the time with pleasure. “We made seats according to a new process; a generator for high-frequency power which you could quickly form the layers of wood in the press. It works as a kind of microwave, wherein the wet glue dries quickly due to the heat, while the timber remains cold.
It took six months to get the dry evenly and the yield Pieck patented. But the chair was commercially unsuccessful. More than 1200 are not made there, and other models are never put into production.

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Rud Thygesen & Johnny Sørensen - Danish, 1932 Danish, 1944

Both graduated from the Danish School of Arts, Crafts and Design in 1966 and the same year they opened their own design studio.

While still at school they established a co-operation with Magnus Olesen which in 1971 was expressed in the first models of a range of laminated furniture of which the mutual connection – both technologically and aesthetically – is shown in a stringent and functional design.
Since then Thygesen and Sørensen have created a large number of furniture series – mainly in laminated wood. They have contributed considerably to the development of furniture in laminated and moulded wood and have designed some of the most successful Danish furniture pieces. Furthermore they have design tubular steel furniture and worked with the design of textiles, lightings etc.
Their designs are purchased by among others the Danish Arts Foundation, the art and design museums in Oslo and Copnhagen, National Museum of Decorative Arts in Norway, Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Cologne, Victoria and Albert Museum i London, Art Gallery and Museum, The Royal Pavillon in Brighton and by Modern Art in New York.

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Arne Vodder - Danish, 1926-2009

Danish architect and designer Arne Vodder should be counted among the most influential Scandinavian mid-century designers. A student to famous furniture designed Finn Juhl, Mr Vodder started designing furniture for Fritz Hansen, France & Son ans Sibast, the latter for which he designed a wide range of furniture which received worldwide recognition and success. His beautiful designs were nicely detailed and modest in their expression, almost without exception based on natural materials. Rosewood and teak – according to the fashion at the time – seem to have been the preferred materials, often combined with colourful panels catching the eye. Today, Vodder is perhaps most appreciated for his beautiful rosewood and teak sideboards designed in the 1950-1960’s and produced by Sibast Furniture.

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Bjorn Wiinblad - Danish, 1918-2006

Wiinblad first started working with ceramics at the studio of Lars Syberg and set up his own studio in 1952,. His association with Nymølle Fajance Fabrik started in 1946, in 1976 with the company facing closure he took over ownership, the company continued to produce his designs until its closure in the 1990’s. His association with Rosenthal Porzellan AG started in 1956 and he has produced ceramic, glass, silver and furniture designs for them. His work is exhibited in museums throughout the world and he has won many medals and awards.Over the years Bjørn Wiinblad has worked in a multitude of mediums including ceramics, glass, silver, furniture, poster design, book illustrations, stage and costume design, tapestries, textiles and ceramic decorations for hotels and restaurants in Japan, USA and UK. Bjørn Wiinblads work is based on music and the joy of life, over the years there have been many unique talents in the art world many masters of their own subject. Bjørn Wiinblad is among that small elite group who’s talent covers a multitude of subjects and who are masters of them all.

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