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The story of Danish Design Furniture.

June 12, 2016

Kaare Klint (1888-1954) was one of the founding fathers of MCM Danish design. In 1924, he helped establish The Academy of Furniture Design, as a part of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. One the year after he became a fellow and later professor at the school, where he taught and inspired many of the world famous Danish furniture designers, like Hans J. Wegner, Mogens Koch, Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mogensen and Poul Kjærholm.

 

His focus was functionalism. Up until now furniture’s had been a copy of former style periods. Big heavy wood furniture’s with lots of ornaments and decorations, but Klint wanted to cut the unnecessary décor and instead combine functionality and form. He wanted to modernize peoples home.

He and his students started to measure people and their homes. From data’s he created a standard for furniture making. From the height of a table and chair to the size of a linen press, so it could fit service for 12 or 24 people. Nothing was left to coincidence.

 

Satirical commentary on the functionalisms showdown with the heavy wood furniture’s and decors from the 20th century. An architect went through the living room. Drawn by Carl Jensen for Svikmøllen 1943 / billedkunst.dk

 

After the end of  World War II, the Scandinavian countries wanted to create equality for people or what is called The Scandinavian model / Social Democratism. This affected all aspects of life and this was clearly expressed in people’s homes. The working class moved out of the slum in the polluted city centers to the suburbs. The houses was built for the modern families.

 

The golden age of Danish Design begins. (1950 – 1975) Architects began to combine the well known quality wood work with the principles that Klint had made. Quality and design that was affordable for middle class families. They no longer had to aim to be like the upper class with there big mahogany furniture’s but instead got their own beautiful pieces made of teak, rosewood, oak and beech wood.

 

It became so popular that even the upper class fell in love with it. The transformation was done and borders between high and low had been eliminated and one of the most equal societies in the world created. Not only because of the furniture’s, but this was a part of it.

 

Especially one man was behind this. Børge Mogensen became the leader of FDB (United Danish cooperatives) FDB had a huge network of shops all over Denmark and in 1950 they sent out the first catalog with high quality architect designed furniture’s, made affordable for the members in the cooperatives.  Børge Mogensen had been to Sweden and seen the modern industrial production facilities there and started a similar thing in Denmark, only producing furniture’s. The shadow from the Second World War was gone and the modernization and optimism in Denmark started.

 

 FDB furniture’s. Picture from Samvirke.

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