Finn Juhl: a master of Danish design

February 11, 2017 · 0 Comments

Danish designer Finn Juhl

The architect, interior and furniture designer Finn Juhl (1912 – 1989) is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Danish design and is widely credited with having popularised Danish design in America.

Born in Copenhagen, Juhl trained as an architect at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and worked at Vilhelm Lauritzen‘s architectural practice before founding his own design practice in 1945.

Finn Juhl France chairJuhl took on a rich variety of interior, exhibition and product designs throughout his career, with clients ranging from Georg Jensen to SAS airlines.

Today, however, he is perhaps best known for the furniture he designed from the late 1930s onwards.

Interior with furniture designed by Finn Juhl

Interior with Finn Juhl furniture

Featuring curvaceous organic forms and chair seats and backs which appear to float within a frame, Juhl’s charismatic designs were initially considered highly radical.

The complexity of their form and construction also required exacting levels of craftstmanship; Juhl was notorious for testing the boundaries of what could be achieved with his favoured material of teak wood.

Chieftain chair by Finn Juhl

Finn Juhl France chair

During the 1950s Juhl’s designs were exhibited in America where they were enthusiastically received. Juhl was subsequently commissioned to design a refrigerator for General Electric as well as glassware, ceramics and furniture for other US companies.

Perhaps his most prestigious commision, however, was to design the interior of the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters building in New York (undertaken 1950-52).

The UN Council Chamber interior designed by Finn JuhlJuhl’s profile has been somewhat eclipsed in recent years by his peers Hans Wegner and Borge Mogensen, but there is a clear resurgence of interest in his charismatic and timeless designs.

Danish furniture company Onecollection now produces an extensive range of Finn Juhl’s classic furniture, combining modern technology with traditional craftsmanship to meet the exacting standards specified by the designer.

46 chair by Finn Juhl for OnecollectionOnecollection’s association with the estate of Finn Juhl originated when Juhl’s widow contacted the company and asked for their help in reproducing his Model 57 sofa.

57 sofa by Finn Juhl for Onecollection“One cannot create happiness with beautiful objects,” Juhl is famed for noting, “but one can spoil quite a lot of happiness with bad ones”.

Without wishing to contradict a master designer, we would argue that Finn Juhl’s furniture does instill joy in the hearts of those who appreciate enduring designs.

The Poet sofa and France chair by Finn Juhl for Onecollection are currently available to view and purchase at our River Street showroom.

Finn Juhl Poet sofa and France chairView the range of designs by Finn Juhl produced under license by Onecollection here.

Finn Juhl, vintage portrait


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