Danish design icons
Kolekto's graphical interpretation
of Danish design icons
For the development of a number of graphic works for Illums Bolighus, we have studied a Danish furniture classic that today has the status of design icons. It has inspired us to create a graphic narrative through posters and works of art that explore and interpret the sculptural forms in Danish furniture art.
The familiar furniture that is part of the motifs is illustrated from a perspective, a cut or in a context where they come to appear as sculptural elements on an evocative stage.
Together, the motifs form a graphic and collage-like narrative. Even though there are no people present in the motifs, there is sometimes a homely and recognizable atmosphere over the images, where one senses that some have just left the room ––– elsewhere this dissolves into motifs that are more abstract and sculptural. The works talk cross-sectionally and appear graphically strong, both together and separately.
See the entire collection here.
It is also sold in Illum's Bolighus
The history of Danish design
The history of Danish design must be seen in the light of a lot of legs, a tight economy and a unique talent pool of carpenters and architects who, after the Second World War, created a culture where they were part of a dedicated collaboration that has helped pave the way for Denmark today to be world-renowned for design and good craftsmanship.
Danish design in the time after World War II
In the 1920s, Denmark lagged far behind abroad economically and industrially and the Danish cabinetmakers were exposed to fierce competition from e.g. German industrial furniture.
But instead of letting go, the carpenters entered into a collaboration with Danish architects to create an annual exhibition, where they competed for the best design and craftsmanship quality.
At the same time as the annual competitions, furniture architects began to be trained at the Academy of Fine Arts' School of Architecture under the leadership of Professor Kaare Klint.
It was this combination of craftsmanship, architecture and mutual competition that created the breakthrough for Danish furniture art after World War II.
Architects, carpenters, new forms & good crafts in Danish design
The collaboration between architects, carpenters and the environment around the Academy of Fine Arts, which was characterized by a vibrant craft tradition with a high quality standard combined with a sparse time that put an economic leg up, in need of economy in the constructions and long durability, also paved the way for a new design language. within the art of furniture. Here, the interaction with the user, attention to detail and respect for the materials in construction and processing became a common feature and a supporting element.
Where the dominant design trend after the Second World War was characterized by functionalism, Danish design emphasized a more organic functionalism, which got rid of the hard geometric shapes, but at the same time represented a new and more demanding simplicity and a design concept based on a large interest in the interaction between the user, the tools and the environment.
Danish Design, The Chair & Recognition from abroadIn the 50s, the rest of the world really noticed the Danish furniture, which set completely new standards in terms of design. One of the most pioneering furniture architects was Hans Jørgen Wegner, whose chair from 1949 is the epitome of "Danish Design".
When Nixon and John F. Kennedy sat in this very chair during a televised duel ahead of the 1960 presidential election, it gained serious recognition as well as the nickname "the chair". In those years, exports exploded. to meet the great demand was Fritz Hansen, who together with the architect Arne Jacobsen united design and industry, others before him, including the American designer Charles Eames, had made furniture in plywood, but Arne Jacobsen was the first to twist the veneer in three dimensions.The first examples of this are the chairs "the ant" and the "7." Since then, he continued the experiments with plastics, which resulted in chairs such as "the egg" and "the swan", which today are some of Danish designs largest icons.
The list of other great carpenters and architects who during this period have helped to make a significant impression, direction and the high standards that prevail today in Danish design is long.