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Finn Juhl

June 26, 2013

Finn Juhl

Finn Juhl is an important figure in the inception of Danish design in the 1940s and is also credited as the father of the Danish Modern design aesthetic when he was featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s Good Design Exhibit in Chicago and thus apprised America of the Danish style. Juhl was a Danish architect as well as an interior and industrial design. He is best known for his furniture design. Juhl also taught at Copenhagen’s School of Design and was a visiting professor at the Insititute of Design.

Juhl made his debut as a furniture designer in 1937 with his collaboration with cabinetmaker and master joiner Niels Vodder. He also exhibited at the 11th Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibitions where he did not meet with positive reception right off the bat. In fact, his popularity took off internationally before it did locally (where his peers Borge Mogensen and Hans Wegner were very much in vogue). Juhl’s cosmopolitan style sets him slightly apart from his contemporaries. When his domestic popularity did take off, however, and Juhl impressed with his high craftsmanship standards in mass production, Juhl won a total of five gold medals at the prestigious world design fair, the Milan Triennale.

Juhl’s Model 45 (1945; Amber Sofa in 1 and 2-seater options) has been described as “a masterpiece of logic and elegance”. Indeed, the Model 45 chair is one of Juhl’s most popular designs and showcases his bold design style with its upholstered seat and back being independent from its hard frame. Juhl had defied convention- it was the very first armchair in which the seat did not rest directly against the frame, creating a suspended appearance. The surprising comfort of the effect that this feature wrought in tandem with a concave back rest and slightly tilted seat makes the chair a practical choice as much as a unique one. The slender diagonal braces also enhance the Model 45 chair’s polished looks even as they ballast the entire chair. The curve of the arm rests contours perfectly to one’s arms as well, making the Model 45 chair a fantastic, refined choice of seat with a drink in hand. Juhl’s Model 45 chair is still unrivalled in design today.

Juhl’s Spade Armchair (1954; Bowie Lounge Chair) was his first armchair that was designed to be mass produced. It displays his typical softer touch to the wooden modernist aesthetic, one that utilizes organic forms and is all the more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for it.

The chairs pictured above are replicas.

View all of our Finn Juhl-inspired products in our Modern Classics collection

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