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.

 

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