The inspiration for the Spanish Chair derives from the 1950’s Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild’s exhibition, during which furniture was presented under the theme ”A Hunting Lodge”. For the first time, Mogensen designed furniture using a solid wood framework with saddle leather forming the seat and back. With the Spanish Chair, Mogensen expanded upon his work with solid oak and saddle leather. The chair was launched in 1958 as part of an innovative living space exhibition, in which all tables were removed from the floor to create an open living space. On a journey through Spain, Mogensen had noticed a traditional type of chair with wide armrests, common in areas influenced by ancient Islamic culture. Mogensen combined this notion with his earlier works and signature functionalism. The wooden construction of the Spanish Chair is formed with geometrical precision, achieving a sturdy design with exceptional durability and enduring character. Back home in Denmark, Mogensen presented the Spanish Chair at the Copenhagen Cabinet-makers Guild’s Exhibition. The broad armrests serve as a practical place to place a glass or ashtray, allowing the user to dispense with occasional tables or other furniture from the surrounding area. In doing so he achieved a more open and informal space for relaxing and conversing.
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.