Fine Hand Shaped Furniture in the Mid-Century Design


Danish Modern, is quite hot right now. A chair Cheitain chair by Danish designer, Finn Juhl sold at auction for $40,000! Other noted designers from Denmark include, , Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Niels O. Moller, Borge Mogensen, IB Kofod Larsen, Peter Hvidt, Grete Jalk and the list literally goes on. Danish furniture and objects of design mainly consist of either solid Brazilian rosewood or solid teak and some oak. The choice for rosewood was obvious as the grain and figure of the wood made a statement of its own, not to mention the strength of the wood itself. But, even in the early years of its use, furniture manufactures knew it would soon be discontinued due to the fact that it was not an easily renewable resource. Teak, on the other hand, was a great choice for many Danes as it is an extremely durable, hard wood resistant to moisture and certain insects such as termites. It is also quite strong, assuring the designer that his/her work would endure for many years and that is exactly what we are seeing at this time, 50-plus-year old teak furniture hitting the market with another 50-plus-years of use left in it. The American manufacturers used cheaper fruit woods, pine and sometimes solid walnut. Some got it almost right, and their popularity has grown to this day. One of which is Adrian Pearsall’s company, Craft Associates, of Burkesville Indiana. Adrian was head designer for this company which was headed up by him and his brother during the 1950s and 1960s and they were eventually bought by Lane, another U.S. company attempting “Danish Modern” and using high quality materials and craftsmanship, but failing in the vicinity of true “design.” Some out there would call the work of Vladimir Kagan “Danish,” but in fact, his designs were very far left of Scandinavian and too avant-garde to fit in with the convention of Danish design. Other American companies, many of which were old, established names in the furniture industry, jumped on the bandwagon using heavy, mottled stains, Formica, visible screws and other poor techniques calling it Danish Modern. Not to say that American furniture is bad, quite the contrary. But, when it comes to true Danish style and quality from the mid-century, nothing compares to the manufacturers of Denmark, Sweden and a small few in England. Danish Modern furniture is warm, inviting and very well designed. It is also very functional and pieces can be found for every room of the house. If you are planning on decorating a room in your home “ala mid-century,” then pieces from Denmark are an excellent choice! When you have a piece created by Paul Gilmartin today, you can be assured you are getting a high quality handmade piece created right here in California.

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