The Danish Chair - An International Affair
Permanent exhibition on view from 9.12.2016.
The Danish Chair is a wunderkammer of chairs. In the exhibition, Designmuseum Danmark tells the story of how Danish design turned into an international mega-brand. Guests can embark on a scenic journey of the many types of chairs, which draw a picture of the 20th-century Danish success story and export adventure known as Danish Modern.
The chair is the closest item of furniture to a human being. It affects and reflects the body it has to carry with arms, legs, a seat and a back. It is the acid test of designers and the favourite object of design historians. The chair is also one of the most culture-bearing design objects. It reveals everything about the age and the society, in which it was created. It invests the person sitting in it with status and identity.
The curator of the exhibition, Christian Holmsted Olesen, Head of Exhibitions and Collections, says:
“Denmark became world famous for its myriad of takes on modern chairs in the 20th century. Generations of Danish furniture designers have measured, studied, and drawn inspiration from the historic furniture in the Designmuseum Danmark collection. With this new presentation of our huge collection of chairs, it is our intention to provide our visitors with an overview of the Danish chair’s family history and insight into the chair as a culture-bearing and artistic object. We want to convey the essence of Danish design through the chair, which is one of the strongest representatives of the evolution of Danish design.”
A wunderkammer of Danish chairs
The Danish Chair exhibition is a wunderkammer featuring Danish chairs. It shows how modern Danish furniture design can be regarded as one big family with roots far back in history and foreign cultures. With an emphasis on the golden age of Danish furniture art in the years 1920-1970, visitors can discover about 100 Danish, and a handful of international chairs framed like individual works of art – from stick chairs, China chairs, comb-back chairs, folding chairs, recliner chairs and shell chairs to cantilever chairs.
“The chair is a very difficult object. Anyone who has tried to make one knows that. There are an infinite number of options and problems. A chair needs to be light, it needs to be strong, and it needs to be comfortable. It is almost easier to construct a skyscraper than a decent chair.” – Ludvig Mies van der Rohe
“The chair is the closest thing to a human being. You can give it a personal expression.” – Hans J. Wegner.
10 Danish chairs (and designers) you should know:
The Faaborg Chair, Kaare Klint, 1914
J39 or ‘The People’s Chair’, Børge Mogensen, 1947
PK22, Poul Kjærholm, 1956
The Round Chair, Hans J. Wegner 1949
NV45, Finn Juhl 1945
The Ant, Arne Jacobsen, 1952
The Panton Chair, Verner Panton, 1967-68
Trinidad, Nanna Ditzel, 1993
The GJ chair, also known as the ‘Ribbon Chair’, Grethe Jalk, 1963
The Egyptian Folding Chair, Ole Wanscher, 1934