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Great Danish Designers 101: Finn Juhl

04 February, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Finn Juhl is regarded as a leading figure in Danish mid-century design and described by many contemporary design experts as a “legend,” “master,” and “maverick.” He is also the first of the great Danish mid-century designers to have had his work promoted in North America, after a particularly successful show in Chicago that altered the course of his career. 

Finn Juhl: The Pioneer Who Put Danish Design on the Map 

Born near Copenhagen in 1912, Finn Juhl aspired to a career in art history. His father had other ideas, however, and convinced Juhl to enrol at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts to study architecture.  

Juhl worked as an architect for eleven years, alongside Vilhelm Lauritzen. While employed with Lauritzen, Juhl began experimenting with furniture design. He learned by doing and was completely self-taught. Eventually, he would partner with famed Danish cabinetmaker Niels Vodder in a working relationship that lasted until 1959. Together, Vodder and Juhl developed new methods of joining and bending teak and adding leather, cane, and upholstery to their designs. Their work would prove very influential to other designers of the period. 

After the Second World War, Juhl set up his own design practice and began to gain recognition in Europe for his “exquisitely handmade” furniture which displayed a “refinement of teak jointing” and helped make teak the signature of Danish modern style. In fact, he was one of the first designers to use teak indoors. (Danish Modern

He won multiple gold medals at the Milan Triennales during the 1950s, but it was a Chicago exhibit in 1951 that really put Juhl and Danish design on the map. Juhl designed an interior for the “Good Design” show that featured some of his furniture. From this single exhibit, he earned a commission from Michigan’s Baker Furniture to mass-produce furniture of a similar style. This line would consist of 24 pieces, including chairs, tables, sideboards, desks, and storage units. From here other important commissions followed. Juhl was asked to design: a DC-8 cabin for Scandinavian Airlines System, as well as over thirty of the airline’s ticket offices; Georg Jensen showrooms in New York, Toronto, and London; the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the United Nations headquarters in New York; and the interior of the Danish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. (Scandinavian Modern Home, Scandinavian Modern) Eventually, Juhl’s designs would also be manufactured by Danish companies France & Son and Bovirke. 

Stylistically, Finn Juhl stood apart from his contemporaries. He “embraced expressive, free-flowing shapes” in chair and sofa design before many of his colleagues. His “radically different” style proved controversial at first. He was considered somewhat avant-garde, drawing inspiration from sculpture more than historical design. (1stdibs, Danish Modern

One of the best examples of this tendency is also one of his earliest designs: the Pelikan chair from 1940 which Juhl designed for his own home. In Scandinavian Modern Home, Elizabeth Wilhide refers to the Pelikan as a “radical interpretation of a wing chair” that shows the influence on Juhl of modern artists like Henry Moore, Picasso, and Alexander Calder. The Pelikan is being manufactured today by the House of Finn Juhl. One such version is shown below.

Pelikan Chair designed by Finn Juhl

Image from Design Within Reach.

Another landmark design also emerged from Juhl’s own home furnishings in the same period. Like the Pelikan, the Poeten (or Poet) sofa, created in 1941, showed Juhl’s use of sculptural forms.

Poet Sofa by Finn Juhl

Image from 1stdibs.

As pioneers in the use of teak and leather, Juhl and his partner Niels Vodder created the now iconic Chieftain Chair. The Chieftain Chair was part of the collection created by Baker Furniture; the pair below are originals from the Baker line. 

Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl, manufactured by Baker Furniture

Image from 1stdibs

Design Within Reach talks about why the Chieftain is so remarkable: with its “distinctive shapes inspired by primitive weaponry and a seat that appears suspended above the frame, the sculptural form of the Chieftains Chair…changed the future of Danish design.” Vodder and Juhl created only about 80 of these chairs; the rest were produced by Baker Furniture. Because of their relative scarcity, Finn Juhl designs by Vodder are among the most sought-after Danish designs from the mid-century period. (Danish Modern)

Equally iconic is the Model 45 Easy Chair, also known as the NV-45. Like the Chieftain, the seats of the NV-45 appear to float above the frame.

NV-45 Easy Chair by Finn Juhl

Image from 1stdibs.

In Scandinavian Modern Home, Wilhide describes the significance of this chair:

 “…the ‘Model 45’ shows the refinement that [Juhl’s] work became famous for. This ground-breaking design freed the back and seat from the supporting frame and represented a significant departure at the time. The fluidity of the frame, which contributes so much to the elegance of the design, was made possible by developments in teak jointing techniques pioneered by Juhl.”
Beyond seating, Juhl also showed considerable creativity in other designs. His glove cabinet, designed for his wife in 1961, is a good example:
Glove Cabinet by Juhl--Closed   Glove Cabinet by Juhl--Open

Images from House of Finn Juhl.

The beautifully designed cabinet swings open to reveal colour-coded drawers originally intended, it is said, to help his wife organize her many pairs of gloves.

A truly prolific artist, Juhl also designed ceramics, glassware, and teak bowls. His home still stands as a tribute to his many talents, furnished with his designs and accented with his own objets d’art, lighting, and custom bookshelves and cupboards. This seating area, featured in Dwell magazine, shows the Poet sofa and Chieftain chair in the Juhl home:

Interior of Finn Juhl Home

In a final nod to Juhl’s significance as a designer, Danish company One Collection secured the rights to his designs and, in 2011, began manufacturing reproductions of the Pelikan, Poet, Chieftain, NV-45, and Glove Cabinet, among many others. The collection is sold under the label The House of Finn Juhl and its range shows the incredible gifts of this architect turned cutting-edge furniture designer. 


The next designer in our series: Kaare Klint, the father of Danish mid-century design. 

Read more in this series: Johannes Andersen, Kai Kristiansen, Poul Cadovius, and Poul Hundevad. 


This post was written by Crystal Smith of Pertingo Content Marketing.

Great Danish Designers 101: Poul Hundevad

20 January, 2016 1 comment Leave a comment

Danish designers from the mid-century period were often inspired by the past, looking not only to their long tradition of exceptional carpentry and cabinetmaking, but also to the designs of other time periods. They recognized quality and good design and would frequently revive or reinterpret furniture from long ago. In the case of Poul Hundevad, it was an item from the very distant past that led to his biggest success. 

Poul Hundevad: Combining Past Traditions with Modern Practicality 

Poul Hundevad was born in Vamdrup, Denmark in 1917. He trained as a carpenter and, for a time, owned his own cabinetmaking shop and furniture factory. In 1960, he began production of his most famous work, the Guldhøj chair. The design was a direct copy of a folding chair found in a burial mound in Vamdrup that dated back to the Scandinavian Bronze Age. It was the oldest preserved piece of furniture in Scandinavia. (http://bit.ly/1Ql6k0p

Hundevad measured the original chair, streamlined the design, and put it into production, using four different types of wood and leather seating in light and dark shades. The chair was an immediate success and was sold around the world. According to some sources, it continued to be produced into the early 2000s. (http://bit.ly/23chj1r, http://bit.ly/1Ql6k0p)

Poul Hundevad Guldhoj Chair

Image from 1stdibs. http://bit.ly/1nvzJK4

As a trained cabinetmaker, Hundevad made more than just folding chairs. He was also recognized for his dining chairs, tray carts, sideboards, and bookcases.

Like his contemporaries, he was an expert craftsman. Bradley Quinn notes in Scandinavian Style that this legacy dates back to the Vikings who were “world leaders” in their ingenious methods of tooling wood; techniques that enabled them to “transform several separate pieces into a single entity.” Danish designers of the mid-century were particularly well known for their exceptional joining techniques. A chair from Hundevad provides an example. The backrest flows almost seamlessly into its supports, creating clean lines and a sense of one piece flowing into the other:

 Poul Hundevad Dining Chair  Poul Hundevad Dining Chair--Front

 Images from 1stdibs http://bit.ly/1RxViGl 

Hundevad’s gorgeous “Egyptian Chairs” offers another example. With the contours of the wood, it is hard to tell where one piece starts and the other ends.  The lines of the Egyptian Chair are exactly what author Elizabeth Wilhide described when she wrote that Danish joining techniques allowed “separate members such as backs, arms and legs to read as a single, fluid whole.”

Egyptian Chair by Poul Hundevad--Front View

Poul Hundevad Egyptian Chair--Side View, Close-Up

Images from 1stdibs http://bit.ly/1PEZ22X

Coming of age as a designer in the mid-century period meant that Hundevad was also concerned about functionality and flexibility in his designs. Multi-purpose furniture was all the rage in the mid-century period, a trend whose roots lie in the Scandinavian heritage of small, efficient homes that required adaptable furniture. VHB has had some wonderful pieces from Hundevad that show his practical side.

This teak dining table, now sold, included draw leaves to provide more seating, and a reversible top: the wood side was for dining; the leather side was ideal for a game of cards.

Poul Hundevad Square Dining Table  Hundevad Square Dining Table, One Leaf Extended

Hundevad Dining Table, Reversible Top, Card Playing Surface Showing

In addition to spaces for play, Hundevad incorporated spaces for work in his designs. This teak cabinet includes a drop down desk surface, movable shelves in the bookcase, and, in the bottom section, locking doors that hide four drawers and two movable shelves. This is another piece sold from the VHB collection.

Hundevad Secretary Desk  Hundevad Teak Secretary Desk, Writing Surface Open

Functionality abounds in this sideboard from VHB’s past collections. Looking at the sleek exterior, you would never guess what lay behind its disappearing sliding doors: vertical storage, adjustable shelves, and a pull-out shelf.

Teak Sideboard/Media Cabinet by Poul Hundevad  Teak Sideboard by Hundevad, Interior Showing

Hundevad’s transformable trolley carts offer another example of ingenious design. The top slides to one side to make room for the bottom tray, doubling the space for serving.

Hundevad Rosewood Tray Cart  Hundevad Rosewood Serving Table Trolley/Cart

Hundevad Rosewood Serving Table Trolley/Cart, Fully Extended

The trolley cart, dating from 1960, was one of many items Hundevad made in rosewood. While teak is most commonly associated with Danish mid-century furniture, many designers used other woods as well. Hundevad was no exception. He worked frequently with teak but also used beech, oak, and other tropical hardwoods in his furniture. He even designed his famous Guldhøj chair in oak, teak, wenge, and rosewood. Many of his bookcases were also done in rosewood, including two from VHB’s current collection, shown below.

This bookcase has the small footprint desired by homeowners in the mid-century period and now. Narrow and shallow, this piece follows the Danish design aesthetic of practicality and efficiency, offering storage without taking up too much space:

Narrow Rosewood Bookcase by Poul Hundevad Close-up View of Poul Hundevad Rosewood Bookcase

Also in rosewood, this bookshelf and matching media cabinet provide flexible storage for small spaces. In a unique design twist, the shelves include a recessed, angular edge on the front, adding visual interest and a sleek appearance:

Poul Hundevad Bookshelf and Matching Media Cabinet, Rosewood Hundevad Bookshelf, Close-Up of Recessed, Angular Edge on Shelves

Poul Hundevad was a quintessential Danish furniture designer. He looked to the past, stayed true to traditional craftsmanship and techniques, yet created pieces that were thoroughly modern. 

The next designer in our series: Finn Juhl, architect and self-taught furniture designer. 

Read more in this series: Johannes Andersen, Kai Kristiansen, and Poul Cadovius. 


This post was written by guest blogger Crystal Smith of Pertingo Content Marketing

Great Danish Designers 101: Poul Cadovius

06 January, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

In our blog series on Danish designers of the mid-century period, we’ve talked a lot about the overall Scandinavian design ethos that influenced them: human-centred design, traditional craft and carpentry skills, and the use of organic forms. Efficiency is another important element of that design ethos and one that greatly inspired Poul Cadovius, inventor of the renowned—and still very popular—Royal shelving system.

A Tradition of Efficiency 

Nordic architects and furniture designers have a long history of creating efficiency in built spaces. Even before the mid-century period, houses were designed to minimize or eliminate wasted space. Furniture designers followed the same principle by creating modular furniture that could adapt to different uses and save precious space. The end result was “an acute spatial awareness among generations of Scandinavians, and an appreciation of the interior as a flexible entity rather than a static fixture.” (Scandinavian Style)

Translated to the real world, this focus on efficiency led to:

  • built-in cupboards that were fully functional but integrated unobtrusively into a room, in alcoves, and under stairs;
  • beds that tucked away, upright, into cupboards;
  • use of the entire height of a room, with cupboards and wardrobes stretching from floor to ceiling;
  • modular seating that allowed different configurations, and tables that extended when more surface space was needed.

Shelving was another area where efficiency and flexibility came to the fore. Bradley Quinn wrote about the way shelving was transformed by Scandinavian designers: 

"Shelving moved beyond the confines of the bookcase, and was reinvented as a flexible, modular system featuring sleek display surfaces in addition to storage spaces." 

Modular shelving units can accommodate desks, closed cabinets, and open shelves. According to Quinn, this flexibility allows everyday personal items to be kept close at hand, but behind closed doors, while also providing “lustrous display surfaces” for decorative objects. 

Poul Cadovius recognized the need for this kind of flexible storage system in the 1940s. By the end of that decade he had created an original wall-hung shelving system that would become one of the Danish furniture industry’s biggest success stories. 

Poul Cadovius: King of Modular Shelving

Poul Cadovius was born in 1911 in Frederiksberg, Denmark. Trained originally as a saddler and upholsterer, he later moved into furniture design. (http://bit.ly/1kLZh3y

Although recognized as a very influential designer, there is surprisingly little written about Cadovius. From the few sources that do exist, we can glean that his design impulses were very much influenced by his Danish upbringing. Like other designers of the period, he was interested in creating furniture that would provide comfort and make the living space larger. He also sought to make highly customizable pieces that were flexible enough to suit any décor and be arranged in a manner that underlined the “personal atmosphere of the interior.” (http://bit.ly/1MT8xt8

In 1948, he designed the Royal System®, shown in this German print ad from 1960:

Vintage Ad Poul Cadovius Royal Shelf System

Picture from Design Addict.

Cadovius later purchased the furniture manufacturer France & Sons, which he renamed Cado. He continued producing his shelving system, which sometimes goes by the name Cado, but also designed other furniture. In fact, according to Nest.co.uk, Cadovius registered more than 400 patents in his lifetime. In his later designs, he followed the Danish tradition of using tropical woods like teak and rosewood, but also experimented with other materials.  

His Royal chair, designed for the Royal System, featured corded seats that added texture and warmth, along with the clean lines and eye-catching angles typical of Danish design:

Cadovius Royal Chairs

Picture from 1stsdibs.com.

Also popular today, the rosewood “chess” tables he designed for Cado:

The stunning inlay showcases the natural grain of the wood and the attention to detail in the construction of the tables:

 Pictures from 1stdibs.com.

In a departure from traditional wood carpentry, Cadovius used aluminum in some of tables he designed for Cado, including this rosewood and aluminum coffee table:

Rosewood and aluminum table by Cadovius

Picture from 1stdibs.com.

He also partnered with painter Susan Fjedldoe Mygge to create aluminum tables with gorgeous hand-painted designs, like this one in blues, greens, and gold filigree:

hand-painted aluminum table by Cadovius and Mygge  Close-up of hand-painted table by Mygge and Cadovius

Pictures from 1stdibs.com.

As his number of patents suggests, Cadovius was always innovating. He even modified his most successful design, creating a version of the Royal System that was freestanding rather than wall-mounted:

Poul Cadovius Free-Standing Royal Shelving System

Picture from 1tsdibs.com. VHB currently has a freestanding Royal system in-stock and on display in the front window of the store. For more details, please contact us.

Royal shelving systems may have been designed nearly 70 years ago, but they are “hot collectibles” today. With our urban centres increasingly focused on efficient use of land and smaller living spaces, modular designs are essential.  Like other designs from the mid-century period, those of Poul Cadovius have stood the test of time, and may be even more relevant now than they were then.

The next designer in our series: Finn Juhl, architect and self-taught furniture designer.   


This post was written by guest blogger Crystal Smith of Pertingo Content Marketing.

 

 

Great Danish Designers 101: Kai Kristiansen

16 December, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Renowned Danish designer Hans Wegner once said: “A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.” 

By those criteria, we can safely say that Kai Kristiansen designed a lot of beautiful chairs. But it wasn’t just chairs. Kristiansen was also known for his desks, tables, and sideboards. Like many Danish designers in the mid-century period, he worked primarily with teak and rosewood. He also followed the Danish tradition of “practicality and fitness for purpose.” (Scandinavian Modern Home)

Kai Kristiansen from A to “Z” 

Kristiansen was born in Denmark in 1929. He trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakaemi) and finished his apprenticeship as a furniture maker in 1948. He soon found employment as a journeyman cabinetmaker with Kaare Klint, a man sometimes referred to as the father of modern Danish furniture design. (http://bit.ly/1O4PfrW

Klint’s design philosophy was based in modernizing classic forms. He took inspiration from traditional furniture forms and craftsmanship, but saw the need for a more progressive and humanistic approach to design. To that end, Klint devised a set of data based on average human measurements, proportions, and dimensions that he believed should be used as a benchmark in all furniture design. (Scandinavian Modern Home

Emulating his mentor, Kristiansen would become known for excellent craftsmanship and innovative, human-centred design. He set up his own design shop in 1955 where he worked with a range of manufacturers to create furniture “defined by clean lines and a perfect balance of form and function.” (http://bit.ly/1O4PfrW)  In fact, it was one such business relationship that led to Kristiansen’s most famous design. 

Kristiansen created the #42 chair—also known as the “Z chair”—in 1956 while working with Schou Andersen, a family-owned company established in 1919 and still in operation today.  We may never know what exactly the company asked for when it contracted Kristiansen to create a new dining chair, but we can imagine their response when they first saw the #42:

Kai Kristiansen #42 Dining Chair 

The design is innovative with striking angles and the clean lines Kristiansen was known for. It has the “floating” quality common to Danish mid-century modern furniture, but still appears grounded and solid. And the excellent craftsmanship is apparent from just one glance. 

Considering it from all angles, as Wegner suggested, we can see it is indeed beautiful no matter which way you look at it:

Kai Kristiansen #42 Chair, Various Angles

Images from VHB's current collection.

The human element is also present in the “Z” chair, seen in the pivoting backrest that adapts to each individual’s seating position. Being both comfortable and attractive, the chairs are versatile enough to work as dining room furniture and armchairs in a living room—adding the “functional” portion of the “form and function” equation.

Comfort and style abound in Kristiansen’s other dining chairs, like the gorgeous Model 31, also designed for Schou Andersen (and also in-stock at VHB):

Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Dining Chair Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Dining Chair, Side View

Kristiansen’s #121 is another example of humanistic design. Considered one of his finest designs, the #121 lounge chair is minimalist and sleek, yet inviting and comfortable:

Kai Kristiansen Model 121Image from scandinavianmod.com.

Another of Kristiansen’s most renowned designs provides ample evidence of excellence in both form and function. His FM-Reolsystem was first created for Feldballes Mobelfabrik in 1957. Later versions were produced by Fornem Mobelkunst. The FM-Reolsystem consists of a series of teak shelves and cabinets hung on wall-mounted metal uprights. Ads from that era show some of the many possible uses for the shelving unit:

Ad for Kai Kristiansen Wall Unit

Print Ad for Kai Kristiansen Reolsystem

Vintage advertisements from danish-modern.co.uk.

The FM-Reolsystem is visually stunning, but its functional elements make it even more appealing. The images below come from VHB’s own FM-Reolsystem, which is currently on loan to the production of popular TV series Heroes Reborn.

VHB’s version of Kristiansen’s design includes multiple shelves and three cabinets: 

FM-Reolsystem by Kristiansen

The centre cabinet, which also locks, includes an interior shelf and felt-lined drawer.

FM-Reolsystem, Interior

The other cabinets have sliding tambour doors, a moveable shelf, and a felt-lined drawer.

FM-Reolsystem, Cabinet

The wall unit could also be used in a home office, as seen in the advertisement below which showcases a Kristiansen desk along with the Reolsystem:

Kai Kristiansen Desk and Wall Unit, Danish Modern UK

Kristiansen was known for desks which, like all of the pieces he created, included practical elements that flowed from the design. Perhaps his most recognized is the roll front desk, which included a round drawer and book shelves on the reverse side:

Images from deconet.com.

The EP 401 Rosewood desk also included shelves on the reverse:

  

Images from Design Addict.

More than just a prolific designer himself, Kristiansen loved supporting the work of his contemporaries. To that end, he organized a regional furniture fair from 1956 to 1965, and was the driving force behind the Scandinavian Furniture Fair from 1966 to 1970. (http://bit.ly/1YatRpS

Kristiansen is recognized as one of the most talented Danish designers to emerge in the mid-century period. His designs, with their innovative aesthetics and clever practical elements, are highly sought-after today by both collectors and interior designers. 

The next designer in our series: Poul Cadovius, inventor of the Royal modular shelving system. VHB currently has a Royal system in-stock, much like the one pictured here.  


This post was written by guest blogger Crystal Smith of Pertingo Content Marketing.  

 

Great Danish Designers 101: Johannes Andersen

02 December, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

What we now know as Danish mid-century design first emerged in the 1930s. The demand for authentic Danish mid-century pieces has never really waned since, making the products of many Danish designers especially valuable today. But what, in particular, is so appealing about Danish design? This new series of blog posts will help answer that question. 

We’ll look first at some of the factors that influenced Scandinavian design in general and Danish design in particular before turning our attention to Johannes Andersen. A Danish designer, Andersen was grounded in the Scandinavian tradition but expanded his vision to create a truly distinct design aesthetic.   

The Roots of Danish Modern Design

While specific Danish designers like Andersen developed their own style, they share common sources of influence. In her book Scandinavian Modern Home, Elizabeth Wilhide talks about the Scandinavian design ethos and how significantly it was influenced by climate and environment:

  • Long dark winters in a mountainous and heavily forested land meant that nature and organic forms were a source of constant inspiration. As Wilhide wrote, “Nature, when it is this dramatic, cannot easily be ignored any more than it can be tamed.”
  • With so much darkness in the fall and winter months, homes had to provide “psychological warmth” as well as physical shelter. “Domestic cheer” became an integral part of Scandinavian design, appearing in designs via colour, pattern, texture, or organic form. Even the most futuristic designs would include a strong human quality to provide that much-needed sense of warmth.
  • In geographically isolated Scandinavian countries, resources could be in short supply. Furniture makers in the pre-modern era had to be efficient and minimize waste. Practicality also prevailed to ensure that the most was being made of scarce supplies. This mindset of “workable solutions with optimum economy” filtered down to the designers of the mid-century period.  
  • Given the remoteness of the area, industrialization arrived later in Scandinavia than in other parts of Europe. As a result, traditional craft skills remained an important part of the culture there. Even after industrial manufacturing was established, high standards of craftsmanship were upheld.

Denmark’s modern design movement owed much to this Scandinavian ethos, but also developed its own local flavour. While their northerly neighbours drew inspiration from the machine—which they saw as the emblem of the new age—Danish furniture makers were more focused on human-centred design. Pioneering Danish designer Kaare Klint even developed a set of data based on human measurements, proportions, and dimensions to act as a benchmark for furniture design. This human element was a major inspiration for many Danish designers, including Johannes Andersen.

Johannes Andersen: Ahead of the Curve

Andersen was born in Aarhus, Denmark in 1903. He apprenticed as a cabinet maker, becoming certified in 1922. By the mid-1930s, when Danish modern design rose in popularity beyond Denmark, he opened his own workshop. He continued to work with other design houses as well, including CFC Silkeborg in Denmark and Trensum in Sweden. 

Scandinavian furniture was known for its distinctive shapes, flowing contours, and “restrained chic.” (Scandinavian Style) Andersen certainly followed this aesthetic in his designs. Looking at his work, it is also easy to see the influences of the culture and environment that surrounded him. The hallmarks of the Scandinavian ethos are present, but interpreted in a way that is Andersen’s alone. 

Curves figured prominently in many of Andersen’s designs and he used them in novel and surprising ways. Consider his coffee tables. When most people think “coffee table,” they think of a rectangle or, if they are very imaginative, an oval. Not Andersen. He experimented with all kinds of unique shapes. His most famous is the Capri table, shown below. Like many of his tables, the Capri featured curved surfaces and bevelled edges that softened the design, showcasing the more organic approach to shape and form for which Danish designers, in particular, were known.

Johannes Andersen Capri Sofa Table

Distinct curves also appeared in his side tables, as seen in this 1954 advertisement, sourced from danish-modern.co.uk, and in Andersen’s futuristic “smile” table, at right.

 Johannes Andersen End Table  

The human dimension of Danish design is also present in Andersen’s furniture. He, like other Scandinavian designers, delivered practicality “without ever losing sight of the fact that furniture is used by human beings.” (Wilhide) Andersen’s attention to these “intangible human qualities” was especially apparent in the seating he created. His renowned Allegra barstool featured a concave seat designed to “cradle the body, creating the perfect balance between comfort and design.” (Pamono.ca)

Johannes Andersen Allegra Barstool

The Capri sofa, perhaps Andersen’s most famous design and currently the most sought-after, showcases all of the elements for which he was known: a truly distinctive form, striking curves, and a design that “yields to the seated posture like a glove sliding onto a hand.”(Scandinavian Style)

Johannes Andersen Capri Sofa

Andersen’s dining room furniture was equally attentive to the human form. VHB is lucky enough to have in stock a set of Andersen’s dining chairs. The curved back is a hallmark of Scandinavian design and adds not only style, but also incredible comfort. Note as well the craftsmanship for which Andersen was known—the chairs are beautifully balanced both physically and visually.

Beyond the obvious comfort in his designs, Andersen—a quintessential Nordic designer—also included elements of practicality. Again, his coffee tables provide an example. He often added retractable shelves and drawers to his coffee tables to provide additional surface area or storage when needed.

Johannes Andersen Draw Leaf Coffee Table

The draw leaf design seen above also found its way into Andersen’s dining tables, including a solid teak table currently available at VHB. Like his other tables, this one features rounded edges on the table top and curves where the legs meet the table to soften the entire look. In a further testament to Andersen’s skill as a craftsman, the draw leaves fit beautifully under the surface—so much so that they are practically invisible when retracted.

Johannes Andersen Solid Teak Dining Table with Draw Leaves at VHB  

Johannes Andersen garnered international acclaim in his lifetime that is still accorded to him today. Current collectors pay top dollar for his furniture, in appreciation of its exceptional quality and visually stunning design elements.

The next designer in our series: Kai Kristiansen, designer of the famous #42 dining chair currently in stock at VHB.


This post was written by guest blogger Crystal Smith of Pertingo Content Marketing.  

 

Weekly Favourite

06 May, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

I hope that we can make this a weekly edition. No promises:) This week we got so many new items in that it's hard to pic a clear favourite for the item I'll be sad to sell. Last week a turn of the century cast iron desk lamp sold. I loved it. But alas we can't keep everything.

This week I'm fawning over our custom sofas and chairs. Especially the Bertram and the Yves custom chairs. Such awesome lines and comfortable beyond belief. When you sit in these, your day will be lost in a sea of comfort. The colour of these fabrics is vibrant; but not too vibrant so as to cause you to wear your sunglasses indoors.....or at night.

 

 

 

Most importantly these chairs are comfortable. So comfortable that we often "fight" over them when there are no customers in store!

I don't need to go into their eco-cred here. It's important as I'm sure you agree. But it's the style and function that I truly love. I'll be sad when these go. Just as I was when Maureen sold the Atomic floor lamp, the mid century round coffee table, the king sized teak bed with floating side tables and the cast iron desk lamp. But like all the rest, when these sell,  I know they are going to a good home. who loves stylish, comfortable custom chairs as much as I do.

Merry Mid Century Christmas

08 December, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment


Ask anyone who grew up in the 1950s or ‘60s to describe the Christmas décor of their youth and they’ll probably use the word “shiny.” Metallic finishes were popular in the mid-century era, a time of gold and silver tinsel garlands and Shiny Brite ornaments, pictured at left.
(hand blown glass ornaments available at VHB)
With the revival of mid-century modern furniture, there has also been renewed interest in adding a mid-century flair to Christmas decorating. Google “mid-century modern Christmas” and you’ll find dozens of sites with images of Christmas cards, ornaments, and table décor from the era. The colours and designs are surprisingly versatile and can be added to any modern home, adding a pop of colour to more traditional décor or complementing an existing mid-century theme.

Hallmarks of Mid-Century Christmas Décor

Like the furniture of the era, mid-century Christmas decorations were based on a very modern aesthetic. They had clean lines and shapes inspired by a changing world: atomic, space-age motifs were common as were materials like aluminum and—believe it or not—lead, which was one of the ingredients in those stringy strands of silvery tinsel known as “icicles.” (The lead has since been replaced by PVC. Interestingly, the company that invented tinsel icicles also brought us the now ubiquitous icicle lights.)

The aluminum Christmas tree, memorably ridiculed in A Charlie Brown Christmas, was also invented in the mid-century era. Starting with the “Evergleam,” the aluminum tree trend lasted about 10 to 12 years. It has had a bit of a resurgence of late and is, according to some, “beloved by mid-century modern aficionados as the ultimate in holiday décor.”

You may not want to go full-out with an aluminum tree—if you do, your best place to find one is probably eBay or Etsy—but you can incorporate smaller mid-century elements into your Christmas décor.

• You can still get Shiny Brite ornaments in vintage stores, eBay, Etsy, and maybe even from a family member. A company called Christopher Radko, based in the US, now has rights to the Shiny Brite name and sells re-creations of the iconic ornaments. Other manufacturers also make replicas. To distinguish the real thing from its modern counterpart, you can look for the “Shiny Brite” stamp on the ornament’s metal cap and check for fluted edges on that cap.
• Whether shopping for real vintage Christmas décor or modern versions of it, there are certain elements you can look for that will help create that mid-century vibe. Turquoise was a popular colour back in the ‘60s, even for Christmas, and it was often combined with red or gold. Even pink (verging on fuchsia), blue, and magenta were known to appear on the ornaments and garlands of the day—sometimes even combined. Ornaments had an onion shape or a long conical shape, shown in this retro card from Queens of Vintage. The starburst shape shown on these ornaments is also something to look for.



• Look for glassware and table décor from the era or inspired by it. Value Village, Goodwill stores, eBay, and Etsy are good places to check. Geometric designs, like diamonds, were also popular, as were bold stripes. And the starburst and atomic designs of the era, while not intended for Christmas, have a festive appearance.
• Think creatively. Ornaments do not just have to go on trees. If you find a stash of Shiny Brites that don’t go with the overall theme of your tree, place them in a clear bowl to make a centrepiece for your dining room table. Create a display of garlands, candles, and ornaments on your mantel. Or hang the ornaments with ribbon as the image below, from Pinterest, shows.



• Tinsel garlands are available in all kinds of colours from mass-market retailers. Starburst shapes seem to be popular in garlands and would give an immediate mid-century feel to your tree, banister, or mantel.
• If you are crafty and have time, use some of the ideas on this DIY site to create your own mid-century inspired ornaments in whatever colours you choose. The wreath is a little labour-intensive, but really catches the eye.
• Having a party? Add a mid-century feel to your bar with old-style cocktail shakers and vintage rocks glasses. Glass swizzle sticks are another fun accessory and can be found in holiday themes on eBay and Etsy. Some party supply stores might sell plastic versions that have a retro feel. Add cocktail napkins with colourful geometric designs and drink coasters too.

With a few simple touches you can have a very merry mid-century Christmas!

Mid-Century Modern: Maxing Out Style in Small Spaces

16 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Whether it is a lifestyle choice or for reasons of economy, making a smaller space your own doesn’t have to mean a reduction in comfort or style. Sleek, multi-tasking, mid-century modern furniture maximizes style in small spaces.

Simple Aesthetic Design

Clean lines and simple designs are hallmarks of mid-century furniture design. Stripped of ornate detail, furniture created post WWII—up to and including the mid-sixties—has a sleek aesthetic that is more suited to people living in smaller spaces.

 

Clare Pascoe of Britain’s Pascoe Interiors explains that “Mid century furniture was created to combine aesthetics and practicality in order to bring beautifully designed pieces to the man on the street.”

Furniture That Floats

Lifting furniture off the floor makes a room appear larger. The fine, tapered legs that complement many slimmer mid-century pieces provide the illusion of more available floor space, and suggest an airier feel.

Wall-fixing systems that actually attach furniture directly to the wall, avoiding any floor contact at all, are the ultimate examples of mid-century furniture that floats. When shelves or cabinets hover above the floor as integral pieces of the wall itself, this seeming extension of the floor area expands the illusion of space in compact areas.

Multi-Tasking Practicality

When space is limited, furniture has to be flexible in both design and utility. Mid-century modern is both.

The teak wardrobe pictured below was designed to hang suits and blouses in a bedroom. It can easily be transported to an entry where it can serve double duty: hanging coats in the rear hanging area, and storing everyday necessities like keys, dog leashes, and secret decoder rings in the front drawers.

http://vintagehomeboutique.ca/products/mid-century-modern-teak-wardrobe

Sideboards with spacious storage solutions are perfect for the multipurpose rooms in today’s smaller condos. Their unique cubbies with removal, adjustable shelves are perfect for storing extra blankets or for hiding that script you’ve been working on. Side tables with additional storage shelving sit as comfortably beside a bed as they do beside a Bertram custom made sofa. Display cabinets with interchangeable glass or wood fronts that hide or display valuables are other examples of space expanding design flexibility.

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0273/2589/products/Dark-Teak-Mid-Century-Vintage-Display-Cabinet-Front_1_1024x1024.jpg?v=1404876522

The credenza pictured above is a testament to mid-century versatility. At home in any décor, this long, low piece features easy sliding doors, four drawers and a fully finished interior.  The adjustable/removable interior shelves make this piece perfect for storing your media components or your fine dinnerware.  It would be an exceptional addition to any dining room or could be put it in a living area to house a flat screen T.V.  Its four solid teak legs give it the “floating” look that interior designers find so desirable. And its functionality is not the only highlight of this piece: solid teak furniture, like this credenza, is sought after for its look, style and durability.

An Investment That Grows With You

What better way for furniture to prove its versatility than to also double as an investment? Quality mid-century modern furniture pieces are investments that grow in value. Mid-century furniture stock is finite. As it becomes more limited, its value will continue to increase.

It’s important to remember that mid-century modern also has the flexibility to adjust to changes in your lifestyle. Unlike contemporary furniture, mid-century’s quality construction allows the option to refinish in an eco-friendly manner, or to redesign to best suit a décor or need. Aside from producing a truly unique and personal result, this is often the most economical use of resources.

A Piece of the Past

Like other limited-edition fine art, quality crafted mid-century modern furniture often becomes the object of conversation within a home. It is little wonder with the history that it brings with it. A reminder of simpler times is not bad to have in any space.

Let us help you find yours.

 

References:

http://midcenturymagazine.com/interiors/maximising-minimal-living-space-mid-century-furniture/

 

It All Started with a Couch: The Inspiration Behind Vintage Home Boutique

05 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

What motivated us to open a furniture store? There were a number of factors but it all really started with a couch; specifically, the couch we wanted but couldn’t find.

 

We were looking for something stylish, comfortable, environmentally-friendly, and locally made. It also had to be high-quality and built to last, which meant no big-box or assemble-it-yourself options.

 

We checked a wide range of retailers. The smaller stores we visited did not offer quality service or furnishings that matched our criteria. High-end shops had some beautiful furniture but were charging more than what it was worth. After a lot of searching we ended up settling for something less than what we wanted.

 

We were disappointed but also inspired. Surely other people had found themselves in a situation similar to ours: willing to pay for quality furniture but not willing to overpay.

 

Seeing a gap in the marketplace, we decided that we could fill it.

 

Vintage furniture was one answer, and one we had started to explore as we collected vintage pieces and refinished those in need of a little TLC. But we knew we could offer more.

 

We began researching local manufacturers who could complement our vintage and mid-century modern pieces. We found Brentwood Classics, who create couches like the Grant, Leonard and Midge, pictured here, that match all of our original criteria. We connected with a local carpenter who creates stunning live edge tables. We also started talking with local artists and craftspeople about showcasing their work in our store. The combined effect will be completely unique among furniture retailers: our store will evoke the elegance of a salvaged estate while also adding a touch of the whimsical with one-of-a-kind accessories and original art.

Unfortunately at the time we settled for less. Now you don’t have to. Our store offers the perfect balance of high quality and good value, unique pieces versatile enough to fit any décor, and exceptional service.

 

What You Will Find At Vintage Home Boutique

 

  • Vignettes that show how to mix pieces from different eras. We’ll surprise and inspire you with the combinations we choose for our in-store displays.
  • Custom, locally-made sofas and chairs.
  • Vintage teak furniture, mid-century modern pieces, and live edge tables.
  • Answers to your questions. If you see a piece you love but don’t think it will work in your space, talk to us. We can make suggestions and help you find exactly what you need. If we don’t have it, we can find it for you with our custom finding service.
  • A full eco-friendly refinishing shop. Whether a piece is in rough shape or just in need of a little updating, Maureen can help. We have a complete shop in the basement where she works her magic. We use only zero-VOC stains, paints, varnishes and strippers.
  • A gallery of local art. Many artists call our neighbourhood home. We want to help them promote their work by offering free display space. If you are interested in exhibiting your work in our store, contact us at customerservice@vintagehomeboutique.ca.
  • Exclusive, customizable, streetcar prints.
  • Hand blown glass sculptures by world renown Tsunami Glassworks. 

To keep current with the happenings at Vintage Home Boutique, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media. We look forward to seeing you in-store later this month!

Used Vs Vintage Furniture, what's the difference?

12 February, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

For those of you who have checked us out. Thanks for taking the time! The website and store have been taking quite a bit of our time, but we hope to sign the lease for the Toronto #stclairwest space this week and we are already scouting our second and third Toronto locations! Stay tuned for a full post when we do. I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, because I keep getting asked this question. The easy definition is: Generally vintage furniture is used furniture. But not all used furniture is necessarily vintage furniture! Ok you may be thinking slow down Plato, enough philosophy. What exactly does that mean? The way I see it is there are many, many used pieces which have no redeeming qualities: Mass produced with poor quality original materials. No craftsmanship and little design sense. These are items that may be found in the average University residence room.  They were built to fall apart, to keep you buying more every year. This way the cycle continues - indefinitely. 

 

 ugly couch - this is used furniture!

On the other hand, vintage furniture is made of fine quality materials. It has great lines and designer sensibility. Generally it is copied mercilessly. Don't they say that imitation is the best form of flattery? It's something your family, friends and acquaintances will ask about whenever they are over. It's something that you will (and can) invest in having refinished or reupholstered. It's the type of thing that you will hand down to your kids and they will actually want! Yes Spencer is already eying a desk To me that's the core differences between used and vintage furniture. What do you think?

 

Mixing wood styles and tones can add depth, character and sophistication to your home

 

Please note that the couch image was used from the ugly couch contest website and the dining table image is from Arcadianhome.com