Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer Interior | Image courtesy of Anna Danielsson & Nationalmuseum

Spotlight On: Finn Juhl at Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum

One of the largest international retrospectives of Finn Juhl’s work in recent years, the Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer exhibition is held at the newly-renovated Nationalmuseum in Stockholm in collaboration with Denmark’s Ordrupgaard Museum.

Showcasing an extensive collection of original Finn Juhl designs, including furniture and artwork on loan from his old house, the exhibition provides a well-rounded insight into the work of the celebrated designer.

One of the first Danish furniture designers to achieve international recognition, Finn Juhl is seen by many as the master of Danish Modern. A self-taught designer, he originally studied to become an architect at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen but worked with the mindset of a sculptor when creating his designs.

Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer Interior | Image courtesy of Anna Danielsson & Nationalmuseum
Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer Interior | Image courtesy of Anna Danielsson & Nationalmuseum

Rather than thinking in terms of practicality, Finn Juhl broke free from the constraints of conventional working methods to create truly innovative designs. Designing his pieces around the shape of the human body, the mid-century designer created organically formed furniture with curves that complement the body’s form.

Juhl’s approach to design is largely characterised by his desire to work with just two structural parts: the carrying element and the carried. Whilst this aspiration disregards the difficulties of practical construction, it achieves a truly incomparable aesthetic in which the structurally supportive elements appear as though they are floating.

Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer Interior | Image courtesy of Anna Danielsson & Nationalmuseum
Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer Interior | Image courtesy of Anna Danielsson & Nationalmuseum

Furniture in Focus

One of Finn Juhl’s most revered designs is the Chieftain Chair. This iconic chair’s shape was inspired by symbols of weaponry used on foreign shores. For example, the oiled walnut frame takes on the shape of bows and arrows, whilst it’s shield-like back and the comfortable low seat is flanked by armrests that resemble the shape of saddles.

When the Chieftain Chair was released at the 1949 Guild Exhibition it marked the pinnacle of Finn Juhl’s career as a furniture designer. This pioneering design is widely considered one of Finn Juhl’s most accomplished masterpieces and the Chieftain Chair continues to win accolades such as the 2012 Danish Design ‘Classic’ Award today.

The Chieftain Chair as seen in the house of Finn Juhl in Ordrup
The Chieftain Chair as seen in the house of Finn Juhl in Ordrup

Famed for its exceptional comfort, the Chieftain Chair was designed to offer a wide array of seating positions. With armrests perfectly suited for lounging and a seat large enough to curl up on, this chair is certain to bring maximum comfort to any space.

Exuding grandeur, today the chair is upholstered in full-grain, vacuum-tanned, smooth aniline black Nevada leather from south German cattle hides, a leather that is firm but supple with an exceptional grain.

 

If you find yourself in Stockholm, the Nationalmuseum’s Finn Juhl: Architectural Furniture Designer exhibition is available to view from 14th March until 22nd September. Find out more information here.