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Culture news, 03.11.2003 13:31

Danish design in the Bulthaup Design Gallery

 Lamp by Arne Jakobsen Danish design combined functionalist demands for simplicity and clean lines with a passion for exploring the possibilities of organic forms. This passion was based on an attitude to the design and value of things that allowed the material to unfold and which put the user in focus. The idea was to simplify without debasing - creating products where form and function formed a whole. At the same time there was an ambition to use design as a democratic tool for achieving a social approach; providing better products for the many.

During his career Arne Jakobsen (1902-1971), one of the greatest and most productive Danish architects in the 20th century, constructed 350 buildings and designed dozens of pieces of furniture and products. Together with his friends and colleagues Alvar Aalto, G.E. Asplund and Jørn Utzon, he was a trendsetter of the Scandinavian style that has permeated modern architecture and design. Abroad he is best known for his furniture and products in functional design, which also characterises his buildings.

Robust elegance is a hallmark of Arne Jakobsen’s. His cosmopolitan, organically shaped furniture is to be found in offices in New York as well as at hotels in Tokyo and in private homes.

Arne Jakobsen’s products are often rooted in traditional crafts such as ceramics and handmade furniture where he combines materials like leather, wood and woven textiles with industrial features. His most well-known works are his organically shaped armchairs “The Swan” and “The Egg” (both 1960) where the seat, back and armrests constitute one whole, and his light dining room chairs with a flexible back “The Ant” (1952) and “Series 7” (1955), which can be piled on top of each other.

The SAS Royal Hotel and Danmarks Nationalbank (the Danish central bank) are perfect Arne Jakobsen works. Both the buildings and their interior furnishing were designed by Arne Jakobsen. The armchairs “The Swan” and “The Egg” were designed particularly for the SAS Royal Hotel where everything from door handles, taps, carpets and wallpaper are Arne Jakobsen design. In the meeting room of Danmarks Nationalbank the slightly less well-known chair, called “3207” is to be found. It is a version of “Series 7”, but with armrests. Danmarks Nationalbank is considered one of Arne Jakobsen’s masterpieces. Shortly before his death in 1971, Arne Jakobsen finalised the first phase of the building. Otto Weitling and Hans Dissing, two architects from Arne Jakobsen’s drawing office, completed the last two phases.

(c) 2000