A Man Who Defines Nordic Style

- Feb 26, 2021-

O1CN011y5Idj23aAOH0J17Q_!!681347271Danish furniture designer Finn Juhl plays with space aesthetics: a "man who defines Nordic style" and his houseMany people go to Denmark to make pilgrimage to this white house on the outskirts of Copenhagen.Finn Juhl is one of the four great furniture designers in Denmark, known as "the man who defines Nordic style".


It was in the 1940s. Before that, influenced by the French and British court styles, the design of the northern European countries was luxurious and full of decoration, which was quite different from the minimalist, natural, exquisite, light and flowing northern European style we now know. The sound of simple design reform has been going on for a long time, and finally ushered in the peak in the 1940s.

Finn Juhl is not the only one in the peak, but Finn Juhl is the most special one.Finn Juhl likes to sit in his own chair

At that time, Denmark needed craftsman qualification to make furniture. Finn Juhl didn't. He came from architecture. He didn't learn from kaare klint like the other three giants, but absorbed nutrients from contemporary abstract art works.

Therefore, he was not bound by conventional thinking, and created a lot of unique furniture shapes that only belonged to himself. Because he was not a professional craftsman, the furniture was made by himself, which was difficult to copy and the output was small.

"I am deeply inspired by contemporary art, especially Picasso's works."

Finn Juhl is a fan of art history and art collection. His taste is very clear: Dadaism and surrealism style painting and sculpture.

Some exaggerated and distorted structures in Finn Juhl's furniture became his first masterpiece: Pelican chair.

The huge armrests extending to the left and right sides of the chair are like the wings of a pelican; the chair body is extremely low and inclined, presenting a thick streamline posture, such as the appearance of a pelican's muscle expansion when taking off. It has the same shape as a work of art, but it will be completely covered when sitting down, which is as comfortable as a hug.

At the time of its birth, this chair produced only ten. Different from the trend of emphasizing mass production and paying attention to functionality at that time, this chair was too avant-garde and was not accepted by the public at first. It was ridiculed as a "paralyzed walrus". However, its unique shape still inspires the design of later comers. It is now treasured by MOMA Museum of modern art in New York.

Finn Juhl designed this double sofa a year later as a gift for his wife. Sofa and Pelican chair have the same shape, because they appear in the popular cartoon the poem and the little mother, they are called "Poet Chair".

There is also the "Eye Table" inspired by Picasso's works.

The furniture he decorates is always matched with the art, and emphasizes a complete space aesthetics.

Finn Juhl took part in the exhibition of "Copenhagen craftsmen" in 1940. The works of his favorite Abstract Danish sculptor and painter Erik thommsen are displayed on the exhibition.


"Furniture must look beautiful even on the back"

Finn Juhl has a theory of "from the inside and out": Furniture creates space, and space further creates the landscape of life.

In real life, people will have relations with furniture from all directions. "Since furniture is the visual focus in space, it must look beautiful no matter from any angle," he said. "People don't necessarily feel happy when they look at beautiful things, but they are always disappointed when they look at ugly things.".

"Chair 44", which was completed in 1944, has only produced 12 pieces so far. Finn Juhl once said that chair 44 is his personal favorite. The whole chair is like a perfect sculpture, 360 degrees without dead angle.

Chair 44 is also called "bone chair". Its back is made of 21 × 7 × 4-inch wood, smooth and slender like a bone, even the tenon joint between the back and the armrest. At the same time, chair 44 is also Finn Juhl's first furniture to go from "filling" design to "sculpture" design.

The 45 chair completed in 1945 was once known as "the most beautiful armchair in the world". The streamlined armchair presents Finn Juhl's symbolic sculpture beauty. However, the most famous place of this chair is Finn Juhl's first attempt to separate the comfortable and soft cushion chair board from the outer frame, which makes the armchair look particularly light.

The most complete practice of Finn Juhl's "must be beautiful no matter from any angle" is the chair he designed in 1949.

Finn Juhl saw the chair of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen in the Louvre and got inspiration from it to design the "chief chair".

The back of the chair is like a shield held by a chief, while the armrest is like a blade and a saddle. The leather of the armrest is wrapped with a piece of iron, showing the sharpness of the blade. It can also make the legs comfortably stride on the armrest, which can be absorbed by the magnet. Thoroughly simplify the complex design, turn the old complex design into modern style.

In addition to furniture, Finn Juhl, an architect, is also a space designer. The United Nations building in New York has his hand, but his most classic project is mentioned at the beginning, which belongs to his home. From house to interior decoration and furniture, every detail is created by Finn Juhl himself, which shows a whole set of life aesthetics with flowing space and bright colors.

House of Finn Juhl

In 1937, Finn Juhl married and bought a piece of land next to the ordrupgaard Park North of Copenhagen. In 1942, he officially built his home.

Finn Juhl bought more than 1000 square meters of land, but nearly three-quarters of the space is reserved as a garden. His love for nature seems to grow on Nordic people.

The main body of the house is composed of two buildings, one is the living room and study, the other includes the kitchen, dining room, bedroom and toilet. The two buildings are connected by a porch leading to the garden.

Although the house is divided into two parts, but from the interior, each space is interlinked, with mobility, is the pioneer of open design. At the same time, each space has a unique window view.

Color is another focus of the house. He chose light yellow and orange for the ceiling, so that when the outside light reflects into the house, it will produce warm light. A large number of bright and low saturated colors are selected on the furniture to make the whole house low-key, modern and full of vitality.


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