I love Mid-Century Modern. In fact, my dream is to have a house filled with Mid-Mod furniture. Not sure if I’ll ever get that dream fulfilled but it’s out there. It definitely sells well in the Vintage Eve’s shop.
What I like about Mid-Century Modern are the lines of the furniture and other items that came out of this era and while it can be said that Danish Modern is part of the Mid-Century Modern movement, not all Mid-Century Modern is Danish Modern. So what exactly is Danish Modern?
Danish Modern started in the early part of the 20th century. According to Collectors Weekly, the grandfather of Danish Modern is considered to be Kaare Klint. He was a founder of the furniture school at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen around 1924. Klint believed that we didn’t need to reinvent furniture, just change the lines to give it a more modern look. Many of Klint’s followers were trained as architects which explains the architectural lines to the furniture.
Danish Modern is a period of time that runs from the 1930s to the 1970s. Collectors Weekly says it really took off post-WWII, though. It sort of grew out of the Bauhaus movement which used geometric design and art. This movement was about showing the structure, not hiding it. Danish Modern used these tenets.
Another designer that was big in the Danish Modern movement was Arne Jacobsen. He was the creator of the Ant chair. It had 3 metal legs and was made out of a single piece of plywood. Danish Modern is all about keeping the materials real. They wanted people to see the structure of the furniture.
He is also the guy who developed the Egg chair in 1958. The chair completely enveloped the sitter creating its own mini interior space around them. It was very sculptural. The material used in Danish Modern design was of the highest quality while still appealing to the middle class.
One of the materials that you will see a lot of in Danish Modern design is teak and other woods. Teak done right can be beautiful, as well as functional. It’s lightweight, too. Another wood was rosewood — paired with steel or other metals it gives these pieces their distinctive look. These items were always meant to appeal to the masses. Although they were made with the best of materials, they were meant to be mass produced for the middle class. The pieces were not just modern in line but also very functional for family life.
According to Andrew Hollingsworth in “For the Love of Danish Modern Furniture” (Collectors Weekly, Keane & Monte), the reason Danish Modernism came to an end was progress. New ways of making furniture with colorful molded plastics, the late 60s and 70s, quality of materials declining to meet the demands of lower prices, all sort of converged to bring about the end of the movement.
It’s definitely a look you either love or hate. I happen to love it, but many older people who grew up with it hate it. Go figure! Well, that is Danish Modern in a nutshell. Collectors Weekly has a great article on it for more in depth info. Have a great week and join me in the link parties to the right!