70 Years of Denmark by Design (PHOTOS)

I'm a true lover of all things design, so I scarcely play favorites with furnishing-genres. Nevertheless, I'll go on record saying that the Danish Modern movement is (to me) one of the most fascinating. It complements nearly all environments, from the obvious modern space, to a contemporary or even classic palette, and this universal appeal is rare, for any piece that isn't the equivalent of a wallflower at least.


Perhaps Danish Modern's neutrality derived from Denmark's position in history during World War II, which nearly aligns with the year Danish Modern first commandeered the spotlight. The Vipp 15 Bin (image #1 in slideshow below) is reasonably the earliest of iconic pieces still in production today; in fact, you'll find this same waste bin in all new W Hotels. It was introduced to markets in 1939, just after the Great Depression had taken the world by storm, and as World War II was first beginning. While Denmark surrendered to Germany early in the war following Operation Weserübung in 1940, their later actions were a combination of heroic and evenhanded, rescuing Danish Jewry and aligning themselves with Sweden. It seems likely that this had more impact on Danish Modern than people recognize.

Elizaveta Friedman, International Business Development Manager at Fredericia Furniture, an award-winning Danish furniture manufacturer working with some of today's best Danish designers, explains:

"The first thing anyone notices on their trip to a Danish home is that everything is draped in design. Danes spend a lot of money and time on creating their homes and go to great lengths to make every inch of their living space attractive and inviting, even down to the shape of toothbrushes and waste bins. Nearly every piece of furniture Borge Møgensen designed was created for his own home and he spent months testing its comfort and practicality in a living situation before putting it into production. But of course Danish design is not for the home only. Its applications are limitless, from contract, to hospitality, even educational and institutional. It's because of this approach and philosophy to design that the Danes are so successful in the industry. The products are the result of a deep love for good design rather than potential profits."
As a testament to its popularity, Danish Modern has penetrated the mainstream media and beyond, with pieces like the CH_07 Shell Chair by Carl Hansen & Son (image #10 in slideshow below) finding its way into Chuck Bass' penthouse loft at the Empire Hotel in the WB hit-series Gossip Girl.

So, in honor of Denmark by Design, here's a slideshow of the most iconic and meaningful Danish Modern pieces (at least for me), presented in chronological order.

Jacob Slevin is the CEO of Designer Pages and the Publisher of 3rings.
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