A Danish Furniture Icon

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Børge Mogensen (1914–1972) started his career as a cabinetmaker in 1934. In 1936 he went on to study at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts under Professor Kaare Klint before entering the Royal Academy of Fine Arts from where he graduated as an architect in 1942.

210116-borege-mogensen-portraitHe became head of design at FDB (the Danish co-op) in 1942 before establishing his own design office in 1950.

During his years at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts the young Mogensen developed a close partnership with his mentor Kaare Klint and subsequently also assumed Klint’s approach to simple and functional furniture design. Later on Mogensen was to work as Klint’s teaching assistant at the Royal Academy.

Børge Mogensen was one of the most influential designers in shaping Danish Modern design and present day Fredericia’s founding designer from 1955 until his death in 1972. He found inspiration all over the world in his quest to create everyday objects that would endure for generations. Mogensen’s most recognised pieces were developed during his collaboration and friendship with Fredericia CEO Andreas Graversen.

Functional is the word which best describes Børge Mogensen’s design. The majority of his furniture was designed with industrial production in mind and is characterized by strong and simple lines. His true genius is to be found in his almost scientific analysis of the functionality of a piece of furniture.

Spanish chair
Spanish chair

A smaller but essential part of Mogensen’s work was the cabinetmade pieces, one of them being “the Hunting chair” from 1950 made by Erhard Rasmussen. A simple low easy chair with an oak frame from where the strong natural leather seat and back is stretched.

Fredericia oak sofa
Fredericia oak sofa

In 1948 Mogensen participated in MoMA’s international furniture competition ”low-cost furniture” together with his friend Hans J Wegner. Back home in Denmark, inspired by the exhibition, he experimented with plywood shells and fused the international modernist movement with his own design identity. Mogensen also found inspiration in ethnic arts & crafts, lithography and Japanese wooden carvings.

Shell chair 1949
Shell chair 1949

In 1950, the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild’s exhibition presented furniture under the theme ”A Hunting Lodge”, in which Mogensen had, for the first time, designed furniture using a solid wood framework with saddle leather forming the seat and back. The methodology was inspired from medieval Spanish furniture construction, something that Mogensen would return to time and time again.

Sofa 1945
Sofa 1945

Other important pieces include “The Spokeback Sofa” designed in 1945, which with its lightness and simple, open construction differed from most sofas at the time, and “The Spanish Chair” from 1959, a low, robust easy chair.

Fredericia has had the rights to Børge Mogensen’s design since 2005.

Soborg Madklubben Vesterbro, Copenhagen
Soborg Madklubben Vesterbro, Copenhagen

In 2014, Madklubben Vesterbro had 128.698 visitors, making the restaurant the most frequented in Denmark, according to the online booking portal, DinnerBooking. Søborg by Børge Mogensen was chosen as the dining chair for the popular restaurant.

Low chair
Low chair

The lacquered oak version of the chair with black steel frame lends an industrial expression, which fits into the rough, urban style of the restaurant. Most importantly, Søborg provides excellent seating comfort for enjoying a night out.

Feature image (on top): Photo Villy Lund

A Danish Furniture Icon, source: Felicia.com