The Art of Restraint: Børge Mogensen

21.12.17
The Art of Restraint: Børge Mogensen

Frederica Børge Mogensen for Context

Starting out as a cabinet maker in the early 1930s, Børge Mogensen pioneered certain basic fundamentals of Danish design. His restrained aesthetic brought a tranquil and modest appearance to his work, encouraging people to live unpretentiously. His goal was to create durable and useable furniture that would enrich everyday life. With an emphasis on vertical and horizontal lines, and an acute sense of materials and proportions, it should come as no surprise that Mogensen’s true genius is said to be found in his almost scientific analysis of furniture’s functionality. All of this made his products that simple to produce, yet he never chose appearance over functionality. In fact, he disapproved of some of his colleagues who succumbed to the whims of fashion or used excessively expensive materials.

 

“My goal is to create things that will serve man and give him the lead role.”

 

The early 1940s marked the shift in Mogensen’s career, going from cabinet maker to Head of Design at Danish design co-op, FDB. This lead to the opening of his own design studio in 1950 and the Copenhagen Cabinet Maker’s Guild Exhibition. It was here that a presentation under the name ‘A Hunting Lodge’ gave Mogensen the opportunity to, for the first time, design furniture using a solid wood framework and saddle leather. One of these pieces became known as The Hunting Chair, one of CONTEXT’s personal favorites. The design reflected a distinct modernism of the time that still holds up today.

 

In 1958, genius struck again with the unveiling of the Spanish Chair designed for Fredericia. Mogensen once again used solid wood and saddle leather to create a more traditional style chair with wide armrests, commonly seen in ancient Arabic culture, but not at the expense of his personal design principles and signature functionalism. The wide armrests of the chair could serve as a surface for a drink or ashtray, thus doing away with a table, and making the space much more relaxing and open to conversing.

 

“I do become more and more narrow in my devotion. Within a very limited field, I strive to live out to the utmost border of possibilities within both the material and the shape.”

 

From the quarter-sawn solid oak and vegetable tanned leather, to the brass buckles, The Hunting and Spanish chairs only become more distinct and unique over time, developing an unparalleled patina that makes them each one of a kind.

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Frederica Spanish Chair Børge Mogensen

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