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Børge Mogesen

Denmark (1914–1972)


Børge Mogensen was one of the pioneers that created the foun­da­tion for the Danish Design as a culture of furni­ture design. His life-long ambi­tion was to create durable and useful furni­ture that would enrich people’s every­day lives, and he designed func­tional furni­ture for all parts of the home and society.

Mogensen’s ideal was to create furni­ture with a restrained aesthetic. He believed that furni­ture should create a sense of tran­quil­lity and have a modest appear­ance that encour­ages people to live their lives unpre­ten­tiously. He was acclaimed for his master­ful sense of mate­ri­als and propor­tions, and for his ability to create beau­ti­ful and distinc­tive furni­ture by empha­siz­ing simple hori­zon­tal and verti­cal lines and surfaces – all in an attempt to create aesthetic clear designs that were easy to produce.

While working strictly within his self-imposed dogmas, Mogensen’s artis­tic tempera­ment often led him to break his formal rules without aban­don­ing their orig­i­nal intent. Thus Mogensen’s furni­ture can be described as both modest and very self-confi­dent — just as their creator. Through­out his life, Mogensen was one of the boldest voices in the crit­i­cal debate on furni­ture design. He often crit­i­cized his peers for surren­der­ing their artis­tic authen­tic­ity in favor of short-sighted fash­ions, but he always welcomed inno­va­tions that he found offered real progres­sion. Mogensen preferred to work in refined, yet rustic, natural mate­ri­als such as solid oak, natural leather, wool fabrics, and brass mountings.

Mogensen was a trained cabinet-maker and furni­ture designer at the Copen­hagen School of Arts and Crafts before enter­ing the school of furni­ture design at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Kaare Klint and grad­u­ated in 1941. Through­out his career, Mogensen contin­ued to defend the ideals of evolu­tion­ary design progres­sion that was essen­tial to the Klint School, while also expand­ing on the tradi­tion. Contrary to Klint, Mogensen was not only inspired by the tradi­tional cabinet-maker’s types and crafts — instead he adapted models planned for indus­trial produc­tion, as well as the more infor­mal housing that emerged in the 1960s.

Designs by Børge Mogesen (1)