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Posted in Spotlight

The Art of Restraint: Børge Mogensen

Borge Morgensen

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.

Fredericia Hunting Chair

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 our personal favorites. The design reflected 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.

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.