Danish Cabinet-Maker Furniture

13 May , 2019
Works from the Danish Cabinet-Makers' Guild is a concept of it's own in collectible design. The Cabinet-Makers' Guild began annual exhibitions in 1927 in Copenhagen. The group formed an exhibit showing each year in October the quality furniture made to drawings by gifted architects.  The exhibition took place each year, without interruption, for forty years. A number of successful Danish Design collaborations were formed during this time between cabinetmakers and architects.  

Between the two World Wars, Kaare Klint was perhaps the most influential contributor, after founding his furniture school in 1924 at the Royal Academy of Danish Fine Arts, School of Design.

Ole Wanscher worked with Kaare Klint from 1924 to 1927 and set up his own furniture design studio. He became a leader in Scandinavian Design working with master joiner A.J. Iverson in the 1930's and later Poul Jeppesens Møbelfabrik A/S. He went on to become a professor at the Danish Academy of Art and Design, replacing Kaare Klint after Klint's passing.

 Ole Wanscher Colonial armchair and ottoman.  Poul Jeppesen. Danish Cabinetmakers

Colonial Chair and Ottoman by Ole Wanscher and Poul Jeepesen. In 1960, the Brazilian rosewood version was awarded the Grand Prix at the Milan's triennale.

Niels Vodder
, another Danish Cabintmaker that exhibited almost every year, partnered with architect, interior and industrial designer Finn Juhl. Model NV-48 with Juhl's signature floating back and NV-53, are some of their most popular works, along with the Chieftan Chair.

Niels Vodder Finn Juhl Chairs The Exchange Int

Model NV-48 Finn Juhl by Niels Vodder

Finn Juhl Settee by Niels Vodder The Exchange Int

Model NV-53 Finn Juhl by Niels Vodder

Finn Juhl is credited for bringing Danish Design to America with his interior work for the United Nations and refrigerator designs for General Electric. His first works seen in America were in Georg Jensen's New York store windows. In 1948, he was selected by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., the Museum of Modern Art managing director of the design department, to design the interior settings for the 1951 MOMA exhibit of "Good Design". Carl Auböck, Viggo Boesen, Milo Baughman, Edward Wormley, Peter Hvidt, Florence Knoll, John Van Koert, Stig Lindberg, Raymond Loewy, Paul McCobb, George Nelson, Lucie Rie, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Russel Wright and Hans Wegner  were also included in the exhibition. The same year Baker Furniture, of Grand Rapids, Michigan introduced the firm's first line of modern furniture "Baker Modern" with productions of Juhl and Vodder's models already fabricated and new models designed for the American market. Juhl's influence carried on into the next generations of Nordic designers with his sculptural and organic forms.

Frits Henningsen, another active member of the guild, was known for his curved handmade furniture that followed the traditional methods of the labor-intensive 19th century cabinetmakers. Henningsen was one of the most mysterious and respected cabinetmakers because of his quality craftsmanship and perfectionist standards.

Original Frits Henningsen Wingback Armchair

Wingback Chair by Frits Henningsen, circa 1940's

Arne Jacobsen, most likely the most celebrated Danish designer, studied architecture at the Royal Academy of Danish Fine Arts. He is credited with  introducing Modernism to Denmark and was influenced by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The SAS Air Terminal and Royal Hotel (1956-1960) in Copenhagen was his most extensive architectural project. Every detail was designed by Jacobsen including the building, lighting, flatware, textiles, ashtrays,  furniture and the airport buses. His iconic 'Egg' and 'Swan' chairs were specifically designed for The Royal Hotel.

Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair and Ottoman The Exchange Int

Egg Chair and Ottoman for Fritz Hansen

Arne Jacobsen AJ Flatware Aton Michelsen Silverware The Exchange Int

Arne Jacobsen AJ Flatware Aton Michelsen Silverware, circa 1957

Early Arne Jacobsen Swan Chairs for Fritz Hansen

Swan Chairs by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen, circa 1957

After a number of years under Jacobsen, Hans Wegner started his own firm with Børge Mogensen. He became the master of chair design with over 100 that went into production and was celebrated as the leading Scandinavian designer. Many of his practical and comfortable designs define mid-20th century modern seating. Sharing many principals of prior Danish Cabinetmakers, he felt chairs should be sturdy and special attention was given to joinery. Two of his larger scale works the 'Ox chair' and 'Papa Bear chair" were originally made by A.P. Stolen but only for a few short years due to technical complexities.  Wegner strived to make wood come alive and give spirituality to his works. Manufactured by Getama, Fritz Hansen, Andreas Tuck, Carl Hansen & Søn and PP Møbler to be alive, simple and genuine as possible.

Hans J. Wegner China Chairs for Fritz Hansen The Exchange Int

Hans J. Wegner China Chairs for Fritz Hansen, circa 1944


Hans Wegner Chair and Ottoman, Model AP-27 The Exchange Int

Hans J. Wegner 'Mama Bear chair' and ottoman by A.P. Stolen, circa 1950's

In 1978 the cabinet-makers entered into a collaboration with "Den Permanente" with Grete Jalk as the architect. Jalk had previously apprenticed as a cabinetmaker and was a student of Kaare Klint at Royal Academy of Danish Fine Arts. She graduated in 1946 and opened her own studio in 1953. Her designs focused on re-working traditional furniture designs with curves and "hidden" joins. Jalk also designed wallpaper, textiles, jewelry for Georg Jensen and authored 40 Years of Danish Furniture Design, a 4 volume set.

The Danish Cabinetmakers focused on minimalist design executed by expertly skilled craftsmen.

Danish Furniture Makers Quality Control Label. The Exchange Int.

 Danish Funiture Makers Quality Control Label


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