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Kaare Klint

Denmark (1888–1954)

Recog­nized as the father of modern Danish design, Kaare Klint made a name for himself as a furni­ture designer, educa­tor, and vision­ary. He designed icons such as the 1914 Faaborg Chair and the 1933 Safari Chair, as well as the design for the Danish Pavil­ion at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.

As the son of an archi­tect, Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint, Kaare Klint was immersed in archi­tec­ture from an early age but made his mark on Danish design history as a furni­ture designer. In 1924, he helped estab­lish the Depart­ment of Furni­ture Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. As asso­ciate profes­sor and later profes­sor, he inspired some of the great­est Danish furni­ture design­ers and archi­tects includ­ing Hans J. Wegner, Mogens Koch, Arne Jacob­sen and Poul Kjærholm who would continue shaping the Golden Age of Danish design from the early 1940s.

Today, Klint is regarded as a reformer. As one of the first design­ers to put func­tion­al­ism and the prac­ti­cal study of archi­tec­ture and furni­ture design prin­ci­ples above style, he rede­fined a period other­wise char­ac­ter­ized by style-focused acad­e­mic teach­ing. Klint had an outstand­ing sense of space and propor­tion and created human furni­ture” based on studies of the human body. He studied an object’s uses over its form, and renewed Danish furni­ture design by refin­ing tradi­tion and devel­op­ing objects perfectly in rela­tion to their primary purpose. Klint was also aware of designs’ rela­tion­ship to its envi­ron­ment, insist­ing his pieces never domi­nate a space, but unite form and func­tion for a greater whole.

In all his work, he insisted on clear, logical design, clean lines, the best mate­ri­als, and superb crafts­man­ship. Klint earned many acco­lades, includ­ing the Eckers­berg Medal in 1928 and the C.F. Hansen Medal in 1954. In 1949, he became an Honorary Royal Designer for Indus­try in London.

Designs by Kaare Klint (3)