We always try and check out the local culture when we reach a new destination. So when we entered Copenhagen in the summer we were excited to hear that they were exhibiting a show on the progression of the Danish Chair and it’s wider influence on international design. Some of Denmark’s finest seats were displayed in this show and we’d like to show you some of our favourites made out of wood or otherwise.
Mid century Danish furniture is all the rage in old Blighty but design thinking is deeply established in Denmark’s culture for many generations. This country is full of artisanal designer/makers who come from a rich history of furniture makers. They have established a style based on sleek shapes that borrow from Asian art and architecture. The smooth elegant forms of the 1960s still look contemporary now with many of the manufacturing techniques also widely used. It safe to say that Danish Scandinavian style is omnipresent in all aspects of design. Simplicity and quality is the key.
"THE CHAIR IS THE PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT IS CLOSEST TO HUMAN BEINGS. YOU CAN GIVE IT THE PERSONAL TOUCH."
Hans J. Wegner
For those of you that have ever tried to make a chair will know it’s a tough job balancing the simple finesse of a strong structure against the ergonomic qualities that make it comfortable. Mark made a chair out of an old door found in the street, it looks ok but isn’t the most comfortable object out there (you can see Mark’s chair at the bottom of the post). Seeing all the different techniques and styles in this show was inspiring. We definitely want to make a chair when we get home, as intimidating as it is.
We learnt about a few designers we’d never heard of before. In Denmark, their most famous chair designer is a chap called Hans J. Wegner who had around 20 chairs in the show. His first chairs were created in the 1940s but he continued to develop his practice all the way through to the 60s. Much to Mark’s liking his chairs are all made from wood and are beautifully crafted.
Most of the show was filled with Scandinavian designers but prestige is also placed on the America couple Charles and Ray Eames for their pioneering working with plywood. They started by created lightweight leg casts for injured solders during the war but went on to develop the process into high end furniture, which is still manufactured now. Other classics are in the show like Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Chair made for the Spanish monarchy of the 1930s. A chair you will find throughout the offices of the corporate world, not a humble chair but certainly a nice looking one.
The Copenhagen Design Museum is a must-see if you're in the city. Not only does it do a fantastic job of showing how specialist the Danish craft is but explains just how deeply design is embedded in their way of life. A good example is cycling, many Danes cycle through the city and so their transport system is adapted to this need having bike parks on their trains. A simple yet intuitive solution that makes travel more efficient for its people. Everyday products are developed continuously to be as inclusive and beautiful and as they can. It was fantastic to see how everyday kitchen appliances are still perfected now. A city of problem solvers all trying to make the world a bit better.
This show is still on now, as of December 2017, here is the link if you want to find out more :
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