Danish Modern Furniture Helped Greatest Generation
Put Toughest Years Behind Them

Kelly Woods
Posted April 2012

Post World War II America was a time of wealth and optimism. Young war veterans and their wives were looking for ways to put the war-torn impoverished past behind them. Some of them turned to Danish Modern furniture design.

Many modern furniture pieces featured cold, stark materials such as steel or plastic. Danish Modern set itself apart with its use of natural materials such as leather and wood, particularly teak, to create furniture with clean lines that also was warm and comforting. It offered an elegant, yet cozy, way to furnish the home with items that were new and exciting.

The Danish Modern style of architecture and interior design has its roots in the early 20th century. Its development coincides with World War I and the Industrial Revolution. Danish modern designers include such famous names as Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Borge Mogensen and Poul Kjaerholm. Many of these designers were architects who created furniture designs as a branch of their architectural designs or businesses.

Danish Modern designers are perhaps most famous for their chairs. Hans Wegner created The Round Chair, sometimes called "The Chair." It has a curved seat back and a continuous semi-circle of wood as an armrest. This chair was used in the Kennedy-Nixon debate.

Wegner also designed the Wishbone chair, sometimes called the Y chair. This chair features a curved seat back, as well. The back support is in the shape of a Y or a wishbone.

Eero Saarinen created the womb chair. The chair has a curved shape with padded armrests. A small ottoman typically accompanies this chair.

Arne Jacobsenís egg chair gives the appearance of a brightly colored egg that has been cracked open to reveal a cozy place to sit.

Designers created much more than chairs. Their collections included sofas, tables, beds and storage units. When purchasing new or vintage Danish Modern furniture, look for pieces made with teak, birch, oak, ash and even plywood. The wood will have a light stain or even oil or wax finishes. The upholstery is leather and often fabric of bright, solid colors, such as turquoise, orange or Kelly green. Overall, the piece will have clean, crisp lines with very little, if any, embellishments.


Kelly Woods is a freelance writing for many magazines and websites. She received a bachelorís from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala; and a masterís from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.



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