Børge Mogensen: The People’s Designer

On April 13, 2019 · 0 Comments

Known as ‘the people’s designer’, Børge Mogensen (1914 – 1972) was instrumental in the forming of the Danish modern movement, creating some of the most influential designs and iconic pieces of furniture of the post-war era. Bringing international recognition to Danish design, his lifework was to craft high-quality, practical furniture within the reach of everyone.

A trained cabinet maker, Mogensen went on to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Copenhagen (1938-1942) under the tutelage of Kaare Klint. Excelling at ergonomic design and an advocate for pure functionalism, he honed a restrained, pared-back aesthetic that would last for generations, transcending contemporary fads and unnecessary embellishment.

His revolutionary approach to design meant that the consumer no longer had to modify their behaviour in order to use a piece of furniture, but instead that the furniture was adaptable to the user’s needs.

“My goal is to create items that serve people and give them the leading role, instead of forcing them to adapt to the items”

Known for his masterful use of materials, Morgensen was a pioneer of democratic design, not only utilising artisan traditions but adapting designs for industrial production. His refined designs featured clean lines that were easy to reproduce, with a penchant for primitive materials, working with solid oak, natural leather, wool and brass.

Mogensen worked for both Kaare Klint’s and Mogens Koch’s design studios before being hired as the chief designer for the Danish furniture cooperative, FDB (Fællesforeningen for Danmarks Brugsforeninger) in 1942. His team of designers all shared a common desire, to improve the lives of the everyday person through affordable, functional design. The FDB played an instrumental role in raising the profile of Scandinavian design on a global level.

He went on to open his own studio and later became Fredericia’s founding designer in 1955. Taking inspiration from around the world, his uncompromising approach to quality and design built the foundations of Fredericia and continued until his untimely death in 1972.

Prolific, Børge Mogensen left behind him a rich and enduring legacy of furniture design much of which is still in production today, many originals can also be found in leading museums around the world.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of his iconic Spanish Chair, Fredericia launched a special edition in solid oak with a warm olive green saddle leather. After extensive research into the Mogensen archive, the subtle hue was discovered to be one of Mogensen’s favourites and a dominant colour within modern mid-century interiors.

The Special Edition Anniversary Spanish Chair is available to view at our Upper Street shop.

 

Finn Juhl: a master of Danish design

On 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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