Saturday, October 17, 2009

Breakfast with a Preservationist

Topic: Follow the Money - Strategies for Fundraising in Historic Preservation

Refuel your brain and belly with a coffee and pastry at the Mill City Cafe and an interesting lecture by three experts on the topic: Erin Hanafin Berg, Field Representative for the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota; Marge Ostrov, President of Friends of B’nai Abraham Arts and Culture Museum; and Aaron Hanauer, Senior Planner for Community Planning and Economic Development at the City of Minneapolis. If your interest in vintage or historic furniture spans to historic architecture, then you are sure to enjoy this and the following breakfast events.

Where: Mill City Museum,
ADM Conference Room, 7th Floor, 704 S 2nd Street
When: 8a - 9a

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Swedish Smörgåsbord

Have a hankering for some Swedish meatballs, herring, or cabbage pudding? I thought you did! The American Swedish Institute will be holding it's monthly Smörgåsbord on Sunday, October 18th.

This month’s menu features kålpudding (cabbage pudding) served with a cream sauce and lingon berries. Other dishes include juniper herring, herring in sweet dill mustard sauce, eggs topped with creamed caviar, cold smoked salmon served with horseradish cream, three kinds of Swedish cheese, cold roast beef, potato salad and gherkins, smoked sausages, a fresh fruit platter, pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, Jansson’s Temptation, meatballs, boiled potatoes, and Swedish sausages. For dessert, enjoy apple crisp with homemade vanilla sauce.

Leroy Larson and Mel Brendan will perform old-time Scandinavian music during the meal. Reservations (including sales tax) are $23 for ASI members, $28 for nonmembers, $9 ages 6–11, and free for children under six. Reservations are required by Friday, October 16 and are non-refundable.

"Pretty Much 100% Scandinavian" Movie

Award-winning filmmaker Stefan Quinth returns to the American Swedish Institute on Sunday, October 11th with a new light-hearted movie exploring what it is to be Scandinavian-American. Quinth has teamed up with William Beyer, former American Swedish Institute staff member to travel through Swedish Minnesota, stopping at Scandinavian events and towns throughout Minnesota and the border states. Immigration, language, food, celebration, jokes, a tear or two—it’s a rich journey, fueled by gallons of coffee.

Event Details:
Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA
When: Sunday, October 11th, 2p & 7p
Cost: $8 ASI members, $10 non-members

Midcentury Modern Architecture Event

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is holding an event to discuss the Midcentury Modern architectural heritage of the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. As many of these structures are reaching the 50 year milestone for historic designation, it is time recognize those with architectural significance and those in danger of destruction, and then to discuss the means of preserving them. This event will be held at the fitting Christ Church Lutheran designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen in S. Mpls, which was inducted to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year. This event is free, but space is limited, so reserve your spot by emailing

WHEN: Tuesday, October 27, 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Christ Church Lutheran, 3244 34th Avenue, Minneapolis

Doors open at 6:00, Panel discussion begins at 6:30, to be followed by a reception.

Panelists include:

Todd Grover, AIA, MacDonald and Mack architects

Charlene K. Roise, President, Hess Roise Historical Consultants

Stephanie Atwood, Historian, Hess Roise Historical Consultants

Victoria Young, St. Thomas University

Christine Madrid French. Director, Modernism + Recent Past Program, National Trust for Historic Preservation

More Information about Christ Church Lutheran:

Minnesota’s newest National Historic Landmark, the church was designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen (1949, 1962), a father and son known for their innovative and imaginative buildings nationwide. Other buildings by Eliel Saarinen include the Cranbrook Educational Community in Michigan (also a National Historic Landmark). Eero Saarinen’s works include the 1963 St. Louis Gateway Arch (a NHL) and the 1962 TWA Terminal at JFK Airport in New York (listed on the National Register of Historic Places).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Danish Culture in the Twin Cities

This past weekend, Danish Teak Classics was invited to display a few pieces of designer furniture at the Danish American Historic Society international conference at the downtown Radisson. I hope you were able to attend, but if you missed it, I'd like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Danish American Center in Minneapolis. If you are fond of Danish Modern design, you may also take interest in some cultural events held at the DAC. Among the many offerings, they offer Danish language courses, traditional dance classes, and concerts. On Tuesday, Oct 6th, a Viking music group will perform at 7p. Visit for more information and a whole list of events.

New Inventory from Denmark!

As many of you know, Steve Swanson, owner & president of Danish Teak Classics, is currently in Denmark selecting mid-century modern furniture to ship back to our showroom and restoration shop here in Minneapolis. We expect the shipment to arrive in mid-November before Thanksgiving and the kick-off for holiday shopping. Here is a little taste of some of the goodies soon to arrive!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Silver Cocoon Trunk Show at Danish Teak Classics Today!

Danish Teak Classics is hosting fellow local designer and friend, Tia Salmela Keobounpheng for an exciting Trunk Show in the DTC showroom from 12-5p, Saturday, September 12th. Inspired by the organic forms of nature, but infused with the sensibility of an architect's eye, Tia's jewelry is both cutting-edge and soft. She is a rising star in the Minneapolis fashion scene, so be in-the-know before everyone knows!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Danish Teak at Home

Speaking of well decorated homes, thanks to all who submitted photos of their own Danish Teak Classics. We received many great images which we set on a rotating projector display throughout the Art-A-Whirl weekend for everyone to enjoy - which they did! Each home had a uniquely beautiful adaptation of Danish Modern, which shows the versatility of this furniture. Sorry I could not include all the photos, but here is a snippet.

Keck + Keck

I'd have to say, one of the most enjoyable aspects of working at Danish Teak Classics is the uniquely interesting conversations I have with the ever varied people who visit us. Last weekend, during the whirlwind that is Art-A-Whirl, I had the chance to talk with a man about a Keck + Keck home his daughter had just bought. You may know the name from the most prevalently featured home on display as the "Homes of Tomorrow" exhibition during the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair.

Having written a research paper on another home featured in the exhibition, The Rostone House, I was interested to know what homes and buildings Keck + Keck went on to design after their success at the fair. I stumbled across these fantastic interior photos of a 1955 home in Chicago and just had to share them. It warms my heart to see a home of this stature rightfully decorated.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Voltage Fashion Amplified

If you are a fan of Danish Teak Classics and/or alive in Minneapolis, chances are, you are aware it is once again Fashion Week. Don't let the Midwest location throw you, we are a viable contender as one of the most fashionable and edgy cities in the U.S. After returning from Philadelphia last night, I've come to see that we do not receive the urban cred we deserve. That being said, tomorrow night, the Voltage Fashion Amplified show at First Ave promises to be a visual and musical feast. Put on your fancy pants, and for goodness sakes, be a bit daring; Midwest is not synonymous with po-dunk.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Road Trip: Christ Church Lutheran

In honor of the Christian holiday, I've chosen a worship space as the next must-see midcentury modern site in the Twin Cities.

Christ Church Lutheran in South Minneapolis was a Father-Son collaborative project by Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Eliel completed the worship space in 1949, and when the congregation needed more space, they hired Eero to design the Sunday School and social gathering spaces. Ironically, it was both Saarinen's last commissions. Christ Church Lutheran has just been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

“If a building is honest, the architecture is religious.” Eliel Saarinen

Honest use of materials has created a tranquil, spiritually inspiring space. Whether religious or not, everyone should take the time to absorb the visual ambiance and the amazing acoustic quality of this structure.

3244 34th Ave S, Minneapolis MN 55406

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Danish Teak Classics on

Danish Teak Classics has just been added to a list of US dealers of Mid-century Modern Furniture. is a great starting point if you are looking to redesign a room or pick up just one piece. It has a directory of dealers, history of designers, links to workshops and fairs, top magazines that feature articles on mid-century design, and a plethora of blogs devoted to the love of Mid-century Modern. If you're anything like me, these type of blogs can eat up at least an hour of your work day...


Call for Candid Photos of Danish Modern Interiors

Danish Modern furniture has remained so popular because of its versatility;

Now show us how you use it everyday in your own style!

Capture your inner creativity and snap a photo of your Scandinavian Modern furniture as it is in your home. Submit your photo(s) to us at DTC and you will be entered in a raffle for Marimekko housewares and a selection of Danish Modern Ceramics!

Submissions will be used for a display in our showroom (and online) celebrating creative decorating, classic design and the arts. Participants are invited to join us for a reception on Friday May 15th -- an opportunity to view the display among other participants and DTC friends.

We are very excited to share the diverse ways in which you put your teak (and rosewood, etc) to use, and we need your participation to make this work! Please submit materials on or before the deadline listed below.

Photo submission deadline: May 1st, 2009

Opening Reception Friday May 15th, 5pm-7pm Danish Teak Classics Showroom

Raffle Items distributed at and after Art-A-Whirl at DTC

Friday, April 3, 2009


At Danish Teak Classics, we love Danish Modern furniture, Modern architecture, and of course, Custard. Luckily, Liberty Frozen Custard in South Minneapolis encompasses it all. They may not be web savvy, but we wouldn't expect that from a custard shop that's a step into the past. Architecturally, the Liberty Frozen Custard shop is a great example of mid-century prefab structure with porcelain enamel metal panels. Originally built as a car service shop, the garage doors now open the dining area to fresh breezes and the buzzing of the bees. It may have gotten a bad review by Twin Cities Eats, but I think the atmosphere is reason enough to make the trip. Besides, I think you can make up your own mind about ice cream.

5401 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN‎ - (612) 823-8700‎

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My New Love in Local Art

The beauty of Danish Modern furnishings is that they are so classic and simplistically beautiful, which makes them the perfect staple piece for your rotating artworks and decor. I am in the mood for bright, kitsch, and fun at the moment - possibly due to the winter that just won't let go. Well, it makes for a great excuse to get into some spring cleaning and redecorating. Keep it local with photography from Minnesota-based FriendlyMade. You'll recognize some photo's a distinct Twin Cities landmarks, she definitely has a soft spot for kitschy, mid-century signage. You can find her on at§ion_id=&page=2

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Movie Inspirations for your Danish Modern

As I was browsing through an old stack of House & Garden Magazines, I came across an issue from January 2007. This issue featured 25 Fabulous Movie Interiors. If you're feeling your place is a bit ho-hum, plop yourself on the sofa and rent one of these movies to spark your designer panache.

Released in 1949, The Fountainhead set was designed in the height of the modern period. The architecture and design demands as much attention as the actors. You would expect no less than an ultra chic apartment for a rebellious modern architect.

To call this film avant-garde is the most friendly of terms, but the eccentric characters and flamboyantly modern pieces in the set may incite a venturing spirit in your own designs.

MON ONCLE (1958)
Released in 1958, Mon Oncle was already mocking the sterility of the Bauhaus-esque modern designs that the Danish Modern designers reacted against. This satirical spoof is perfect for any lover of fashion, history, or architecture.

THE PARTY (1968)
Set in LA in the 1960's, this pad is the ultimate Mod party house of the Hollywood upper echelon. Fun, glamorous, and sensual, this film will give help you stage a new theme fitting for a summer of fun.

Lighten up with this playful comedy. Mix your Danish Modern pieces with these bold colors and kitsch decor for a new twist on classic style.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Danish Teak Classics is a small and personal company. We have a passion for our work and vintage Danish design. Each piece is unique and we treat it as such. Here is your chance to get a glimpse into the unique personalities behind the DTC magic.

1. How did you get into restoration?
I’ve studied woodworking for the last 6 yrs, so restoration is a practical application of my skills. My friend Ethan is also the shop manager at Danish Teak.

2. What do you do at Danish Teak? Describe your work.
Restoration at Danish Teak is part woodworking, part design, some fine art, and a lot of problem solving.

3. Who are your 3 favorite Danish Modern designers?
Borge Mogensen
Ole Wanscher
Hans Wegner

4. Favorite piece you’ve restored? (pic?)
My favorite restoration project was a Borge Mogensen dining table that had been degraded by a prior attempt at repairing some surface damage. I had to salvage some vintage veneer from another piece to match and carefully replace the damaged area.

5. Describe the most challenging part of restoration?
Knowing how difficult it is to replace such unique vintage pieces if we cannot repair it.

6. Why is Danish Modern furniture still so popular?
Timeless designs
Human scale

7. If you could apprentice under 1 Danish Modern designer, who would it be and why?
Hans Wegner because he was so successful in getting his designs into the people’s homes

8. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?
I’d go to Sweden to study at Cappella Garden, Carl Malmsten’s school which is “dedicated to the unity of hand and spirit”

9. Would you rather?

a. Always have to say everything on your mind or never speak again?
Always say everything on my mind

b. Give up your computer or your pet?
Give up my computer

c. Be a deep sea diver or an astronaut?

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Thursdays in the NE MPLS Arts District

April 2nd, 2009 - 5-9pm

Spring is finally here! Hooray! So come out of your cozy cocoon, tune up that bike, and make your way to the First Thursday in the Arts District as a multitude of painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, ceramists, textile and fiber artists, jewelers, furniture showrooms and more open their studios at the Northrup King Building located in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Stop in this month at DTC to meet some of the restoration professionals and pick Steve's brain about his business and travels to Denmark. So mark your calendars and enjoy a night of artistic inspiration and merriment!

Stop by the Red Stag Supper Club after First Thursday for late night music. The Red Stag Supper Club features Happy Hour 3pm - close and late night music at 10:00 PM. Pick up a wooden nickel for a free drink at the Red Stag Supper Club during First Thursday while supplies last.

A Farewell to Scandinavia's Best-Known Modernist Architect

On February 23 of 2009, Architect Sverre Fehn of Norway passed away at the age of 84. Evasive of promotional public recognition and innately humble, it may be of no surprise that he slipped below your radar. Not to mention that the majority of his buildings are at home in the Norwegian wooden mountains or fjords, and a bit off the beaten path.

Having completed his studies at the Oslo School of Architecture in 1948, soon afterward, he trained under influential French architect Jean Prouve in Paris, where he was also inspired by the works and teachings of Le Corbusier. Upon his return to Oslo, he forged an investigation into the qualities of light and landscapes, expressed through experimental combinations of modernist building materials such as concrete, slate, and unfinished wood. The effect was an architectural style that deflects attention from itself and diverts it to honor the surrounding sculptural landscape.

In 1997, Fehn was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest honor in the profession. He is noted for his intuitive eye for spacial design, his poetic expression in built form, and his excellent drafting ability. His most notable buildings include: Nordic Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1962; Norwegian Glacier Museum, 1991; Hamar Bispegaard Museum, 1969 to 1973.; The Hedmark Cathedral Museum, 1967-79; and Norwegian Museum of Architecture, 2008.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


As this recession drags on, we may see a peculiar effect on our outlook and goals. Initially, we feel a new tightness in our chests and feeling that we may not control our futures as much as we had so whole-heartedly and stubbornly believed. CNN tells us we are living in a “Crisis” and if I watch too often, I begin to believe that Armageddon couldn’t come at a better time. At Danish Teak Classics, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with a wealth of talented, creative, and successful people living in the Twin Cities or just stopping through. Many have disheartening stories, like how Target has cut its projected building projects for 2009 by 95% and chosen instead to focus on renovations. For those of us who live near an older model, we know this is a blessing in disguise. In another case, I recently called the architect I interned for last summer to catch up on the projects we worked on together. In one year, he has gone from being over his head in work to remodeling his own house to keep his best handymen handy. The job market isn’t great for many in the design profession or recent graduates hoping to break into it, but I can’t help but see the good through all the bad. This isn’t the first time we have faced this type of economy, and if you look back, historically, it has lead to some of the most innovative designs. Without demands and projects flowing in and out, creative minds have time to explore the theories and concepts that have been lying dormant in the back of their minds and on the bottom of their to-do lists. Take for instance, Soviet Russia. After the Revolution of 1917, architects and artists had grand designs in a completely new and modern aesthetic representing a fresh start for their country. The widespread poverty and lack of political organization deterred most projects from being built, but did not weaken the designers devotion to their ideas. Around the world, post WWI designers learned to dream of what could be, of utopian societies, and of a better tomorrow. Will we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and realize the value of the newly available time some of us now have? Will the architects and designers of our era come to be as creatively prolific and groundbreaking as those in a similar situation of the past? I hope so.


Thanks to all who made the Valentine’s Day Sale a success at Danish Teak Classics and we hope all were able to take advantage of the rare discounts. Inventory moving out also means that we have been able to move a significant amount of newly restored Danish Modern furniture up to our showroom. So whether you were here a few weeks ago or have been away for awhile, it may be time for a browse and lounge amongst the best furniture of the Modern period.

If, remarkably, you do not find that piece you just can’t live without in the Danish Teak showroom, do not fear because Steven and Phoebe will be making a trip to Denmark soon to scavenge for more beautiful mid-century modern furniture that just needs a little Danish Teak TLC. If you have a specific request, you can either send it in by email to with a detailed description and example photo if possible, or stop by the DTC showroom to discuss your needs and design plan. The exact dates of departure are not set yet, but we will keep the site updated.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


From many aspects, Modernism can be seen as a movement that broke from the influences of the past. Many Modern designers worked with industrial materials and unapologetically avoided any historic or preceding models. The De Stijl architects imagined a space as a convergence of planes and produced very strictly guided designs by limiting themselves to straight lines and primary colors, as well as black and white. Internationalist designers like Le Corbusier felt that through rational design, they could find an architecture and interior living environment suitable for all people of all nations.

In a reaction against the International Style, Danish Modern designers, such as Hans Wegner, sought time-tested precedents that could be simplified into their basic functional form. Vernacular Furniture like Shaker pieces, Chinese designs, and Windsor chairs became strong influences. Wegner’s well-known Y Chair took influence from 16th and 17th century Chinese chairs. Being the fifth of a series of five, the Y Chair was furthest developed from its original influence, thus looking more Scandinavian Modern than historical as the earlier models had. It was in this model that the back splat was converted from the traditional solid piece to the more interesting split Y piece. Rather than sticking with the historically common set up front and rear stiles to support the U-shaped back and arm rests, Wegner eliminated the front stiles by bending the rear stiles forward in an organic curve. These changes gave the chair a lightness and fluidity that was lacking in the more squat and sturdy preceding designs. In this design, Wegner seamlessly melded the decorative with the constructively functional in a manner sensitive to the historical precedent, but decidedly Modern in the Scandinavian dialect.


During the mid-nineteenth century, England experienced exponential growth in industrial production methods influenced by a seemingly endless supply of new inventions, thus leading the period to be referred to as the Industrial Revolution. These new methods of production forever changed the lifestyles of people throughout England and much of Western Europe. Mass factory production was quickly replacing hand-crafted goods, which forced men to give up their family-run shops and move to the cities to earn a living. What had seemed a promising life away from peasantry soon proved to be a hard life of long hours and little pay. In time, a backlash began against this harsh new reality caused by the Industrial Revolution and was lead by architect and designer, William Morris. Morris championed the value of hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind goods and the fulfillment one receives during and after its creation.

Scandinavian countries had been importing English and Napoleonic furnishings up until the early 20th c. Hard economic times and WWI cut these ties and forced Danish designers to fall back on their own know-how and stylistic influences. Influenced by craftsmen like Morris and their own history, Danish designers constructed modern functional furnishings that hailed beauty in construction rather than frivolous ornamental details. They also began to look towards their Viking ancestry for stylistic influence rather that the daintiness of French furnishings. This was the beginning of the simple honest designs that would come to represent the Danish Mid-Century Modern Movement.


Scandinavian designers have long valued good craftsmanship. When this methodology was applied to the simplicity of the modern style in fusion with the folk arts, it created a modern style individual to the Scandinavian nations. Folk influence and warm woods lent a warm aspect to the striped down aesthetic, which appealed to consumers throughout Western Europe and America. ‘Good’ design did not take on the same connotation in each region however.

From the 1930’s onward, products from designers such as Borge Mogensen, Kaare Klint, Alvar Aalto, and Bruno Mathsson became widely popular and available throughout America. The condemnation of Modern architects and designers in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy at that time played a large role in the exportation of Modern design aesthetics to the states. The notion of an all inclusive International design posed a threat to Adolf Hitler’s image of power and intimidation, but conversely, in America it expressed a notion of progress and empowerment for all walks of life.

During the post-WWII consumerism boom in America, it is not surprising that ‘Good’ design took on moral connotations after such a horrific war. At that time, Americans were told to value good sense and cleanliness. The modern housewife kept her sleek new open-plan house uncluttered and impeccably clean. She made wholesome meals with her streamlined new appliances in her ultra-modern kitchen. Morality was thus taught through the ‘good’ design of interiors and furnishings via magazine images and soon, via the television. After a time of great turmoil in which many men died, many families made great sacrifices, and the gender roles were reversed as women left the homes to work in the positions left vacant by the soldiers, American’s were anxious to develop a stable personal and economic life. This was done successfully through the advertising of the Modern interior as the setting for the idyllic American family. Americans could quite literally purchase good morals.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Scandinavian Modern seems to have exploded onto the American market and throughout the rest of Western Europe post-WWII, however, the basic principles of their designs had been gaining strength and depth since post-WWI. Because the Scandinavian countries declared neutrality in the Second World War, their designs embody a continuity not found in other forms of modernism throughout Europe. In countries engulfed by the war, a whole new league of designers emerged after 1945, but in Scandinavia, the veteran designers and manufacturers shared their lessons and philosophies with the new generation, thus reinforcing their ethos.

Though Finland had a few prominent architects/designers and Sweden is well known for fabric design, Denmark created the bulk of noteworthy furniture. Danish designers experimented with a variety of materials, styles, and construction methods, both in high-end hand-craft and economical mass-production. The distribution obstacles and shortened supplies may have lead to greater discoveries in material manipulation and a deeper study in form and overall design.

Scandinavian Modern Designer - Bruno Mathsson

1907 - 1988

Like many designs during the Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern movement, Bruno Mathsson’s chairs took an organic form. However, his forms developed from study and function rather than visual aesthetic. Mathsson believed that a chair should fit the person, and not the other way around, thus making the person more comfortable and productive. He was perhaps the first base his designs on the study of ergonomics. Between 1933 – 1936, Mathsson fine-tuned his design for the working chair, which had a bentwood frame and a seat woven with leather or fabric of jute or hemp, which adapted to the contours of the human body. Though originally rejected by Swedish furniture manufacturers because of its startlingly new look, the working chair was soon mimicked by other leading designers, such as Jens Risom and Marcel Breuer. In 1957, it was selected as one of the most noteworthy examples of Swedish furniture by the Swedish Society of Industrial Design and the Swedish Furniture Industry Federation.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Danish Modern Designers - Grete Jalk

1920 –

Described by a Danish critic in 1960 as a fine example of “the strong weaker sex,” Grete Jalk has left distinguished footprints on the Danish Mid-Century Modern period of design. As an Architect and furniture designer, she has the ability to design pieces to stand alone as individual artworks, as well as the ability to create entire accommodating environments. Trained under Kaare Klimt at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, like many other Danish Modern designers, Jalk explored different materials and construction processes.

As in Grete Jalk’s case, timing is everything. Her interest in affordability and ease of production lead her to break a prolific collaboration with Poul Jeppson dating back to 1955. Her experimentation with bent plywood brought about the very elegant 1962 nest of tables set. Produced from just one piece of plywood per table, the design is clean yet original. This study progressed into the 1963 Side Chair, which is no less than the epitome of organic design in molded plywood. Whereas previous designers had failed to find a seamless transition between the organic nature of the seat and back rest to the structural frame, Jalk’s ribbon-like pieces fold elegantly into the base, making it possible to build the chair with just two separate pieces. This evolution came too late though, and her chair was overlooked by the masses as the interest in plywood furniture was waning en vogue. Though, in the design-trained eye, her Side Chair is regarded as a rare mid-century modern masterpiece.

Danish Modern Designers - Jens Risom

1916 –

Jens Risom studied under Kaare Klint at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1935 – 1938. After emigrating to the United States in 1939, he became the textile designer for Dan Cooper, New York. Risom’s chair design, model no. 666, was the first to be manufactured by Knoll Associates, and was produced successively as the design evolved. Risom imported the Danish approach to Modernism to America through his high-quality craftsmanship and simple designs. He humbly described his work as “very basic, very simple, inexpensive, easy to make.” His inelaborate pieces were shown at the 1939 New York World’s Fair in collaboration with Hans Knoll in several interior spaces. Risom went on to further influence American Modernism as a trustee of the still-prominent Rhode Island School of Design.

Danish Modern Designers - Nanna Ditzel

1923 - 2005

While studying furniture design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, she collaborated with and later married Jorgen Ditzel. Having been well received at the 1944 Cabinetmakers’ Annual Exhibition in Copenhagen, the pair went on to establish their own design studio in Hellerup. With a focus on interior design solutions for small spaces, Nanna pioneered the use of kitchen units as room dividers. She found inspiration in new materials and techniques, experimenting with fiberglass, foam rubber, and wickerwork in various construction methods throughout her career. Her works are noted for their sensuous textures and sense of lightness. Ditzel was said to have an appetite for change, which fueled her lifelong exploration in furniture design, cabinetry, textiles, jewelry design, tableware, and applied arts. Nanna Ditzel has held one-woman exhibitions in the greatest cities around the world and has been granted numerous international awards.

Danish Modern Designers - Finn Juhl

1912 – 1989
Under his father’s insistence, Finn Juhl attended the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, though he secretly intended to study art history while he was there. Juhl obediently went on to work for the prominent architect, Vilhelm Lauritzen, during which he also collaborated Niels Vodder on many furniture pieces. Despite his earlier interest in art history, his designs deviated from the historically influenced methods taught by Kaare Klint, and instead embodied a more avant-garde approach. Having broken the mold, his designs were both a breath of fresh air and a threat to what the Danish Modern style had come to represent.
In 1945, Juhl set up his own design studio and set out to create solid wood furniture with an organic sculptural quality. Superb craftsmanship was balanced with free flowing forms to create a sense of weightlessness, as represented in the Chieftain Chair (1949). Juhl was also one of the first to experiment with the usage of Teak for interior furnishings, thus developing many different construction techniques leading to its widespread use in Danish Modern design.

Danish Modern Designers - Hans Wegner

1914 -2007

Having grown up as the son of a shoe repairman in southern Denmark, Hans Wegner developed an appreciation for craft and quality at a young age, stating later, “I have always wanted to make unexceptional things of an exceptionally high quality that ordinary people can afford.” He began a carpentry apprenticeship as a boy and later attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. In 1938, he began working with Erik Moller and Flemming Lassen in collaboration with architect Arne Jacobsen on the Arhus Town Hall. Wegner was directed to design furniture for the Hall; the experience became a solid foundation for his prolific career.

Minimalistic in nature, Wegner reworked historic models into practical and aesthetically pleasing modern pieces with an organic flair. Wegner’s designs gained international acclaim, the most well known piece being the Round Chair, which simply became known as The Chair, after its televised debut in the historic 1961 U.S. presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.