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ARNE JACOBSEN (1902-1971) was one of Denmark‘s most influential 20th century architects and designers. His buildings and products, like his Swan and Egg Chairs, combine modernist ideals with a Nordic love of naturalism, with natural graceful forms.
The Swan chair was first produced in 1958 and spotlights an elegant and organic shape. It is perfect for lounge and waiting areas as well as the home. Designed for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, for which Jacobsen was the architect, the chair’s swivel base permitted guests to spin in their seat, thus becoming active participants in the busy hotel atmosphere.
This release is produced off shore by our expert team of designers which explains why the cost of this unit is several thousand dollars less than the original.
Arne Jacobsen was very productive both as an architect and as a designer. The Ant and Series 7 chairs, produced in 1952, propelled both Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen’s names into furniture history. Arne Jacobsen was and is an admired and exceptional designer. His furniture and other design work have become a national and international heritage.
Materials: Thick pure wool blend in a variety of beautiful colors by Gabriel™ of Denmark. Dense cushions made of CA 117 fire-retardant foam, and a chrome plated aluminum swivel base. We use the same fabric program as Fritz Hansen.
Dimensions: 30″W x 27.5″D x 30″H, 10.25″ Seat Height, 21.5″ Arm Height
As an architect and an industrial designer, Jacobsen always strove to achieve grace and coherence in his work. In the process, he emerged as the single most influential Danish architect of the 20th century and the designer of such modernist classics as the Swan, Egg and Ant Chairs as well as the stainless steel, abstract-shaped cutlery which the director Stanley Kubrick chose as timelessly futuristic props for his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Born in Copenhagen in 1902, Arne Jacobsen worked as an apprentice bricklayer before winning a place to study architecture at the Royal Academy of the Arts in 1924. Humble though Jacobsen’s first job may seem, there are echoes with those of other great architects like John Soane and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, who worked for their fathers as a bricklayer and stone mason respectively. It also imbued Jacobsen with the love of materials, which became a dominant feature of his work.
As a student, Jacobsen travelled to Paris for the ground-breaking 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs, where he won a silver medal for a chair design. On that trip, he was struck by the pioneering aesthetic of Le Corbusier’s L’Esprit Nouveau pavilion, as was another architecture student, Luis Barragán, who was destined to be as influential in his country, Mexico, as Jacobsen would be in Denmark. Before he left the Academy, Jacobsen also traveled to Berlin, where he discovered the rationalist architecture of Mies and Walter Groupius. Their work influenced his early projects in Denmark including a design for an art gallery which won him a gold medal when he graduated from the Academy.
Like most young architects, Jacobsen started out by designing private houses which, in his case, fused the rationalist simplicity he admired in Mies and Corb’s work with the classicism of his Scandinavian mentors, notably the veteran Swedish architect Erik Gunnar Asplund. The same combination was apparent in Jacobsen’s larger projects such as an extension to the Nøvo pharmaceuticals factory and the Stelling Hus in Copenhagen. With both, Jacobsen was at pains to integrate the new buildings with their surroundings.
Architectural commissions dwindled during World War II, not least because construction materials were so scarce. Being Jewish, Jacobsen was also threatened by the Nazi occupation of Denmark. In 1943, he left the country by rowing across the Sound in a small boat for two years of wartime exile in Sweden, where he designed fabrics and wallpapers. There, he was inspired by Scandinavia‘s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. When he returned to Denmark in 1945, the country urgently needed new housing and public buildings. Jacobsen’s late 1940s houses and apartment blocks were fairly spartan in design and intended to be built at speed. By the 1950s, he had become more experimental in projects like 1952’s Allehusene complex and his 1955 Søholm houses. In 1957, Jacobsen’s experiments culminated in the circular Round House he designed for the manager of a local fish-smoking plant on the island of Sjaellands.
During the 1950s, Jacobsen became increasingly interested in product design inspired by the work of the US furniture designers, Charles and Ray Eames. He was also influenced both by the ideals of his textile designer wife, Joanna, and the Italian design historian Ernesto Rogers, who believed that the design of every element was equally important “from the spoon to the city”.
In 1951, Jacobsen completed work on the Ant Chair – Model 3100, an intricately molded plywood seat on three spindly steel legs. This was followed by the simpler hourglass form of the 1955 Model 3107 – Series 7 Chair. Like the Ant, the Series 7 was perfect for modern living being light, compact and easily stackable, but not even Jacobsen could have anticipated that it would become one of the most popular chairs of the late 20th and early 21st centuries even featuring on the set of the BBC soap opera the “EastEnders.”
By the late 1950s, Jacobsen was given an opportunity to put his theories of integrated design and architecture into practice in the design of the SAS Ari Terminal and Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. He designed every element of the building from its skyscraping structure down to the ceramic ashtrays sold in the souvenir shop and the stainless steel cutlery later chosen by Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Jacobsen also created another pair of classic 20th century chairs for the hotel in 1957’s Swan and Egg with strikingly organically shaped upholstered seats on slender metal bases.
The elegant functionalism of the SAS Royal Hotel and the 1950s schools Jacobsen had built in and around Copenhagen persuaded the Oxford dons who were touring Scandinavia in search of an architect for St Catherine’s College that he was the ideal candidate. Together with the SAS Royal Hotel and the later National Bank of Denmark headquarters, St Catherine’s is regarded as one of Jacobsen’s architectural masterpieces.
From the 1950s onwards Jacobsen, or “the fat man” as he was called, was the dominant figure in Danish architecture, but outside Denmark he made his mark as a furniture and product designer. As well as the Swan, Egg and Series 7, he was responsible for another 20th century classic, the Cylinda Line stainless steel cocktail kit and tableware which he designed in the late 1960s for Stelton, a company run by his foster son Peter Holmblad. Jacobsen spent three years finessing the project and finally produced a collection of 17 objects for Stelton, all based on the shape of a cylinder. When the Cylinda Line was launched, sales were so poor that Holmblad sent his wife into the Copenhagen department stores to place orders for it. The Cylinda Line then went on to win numerous international design awards, although the abstemious Jacobsen insisted on using the Martini mixer for hot soup.
Months before his death in 1971, Arne Jacobsen reflected on his career. “The fundamental factor is proportion,” he concluded. “Proportion is precisely what makes the old Greek temples beautiful…And when we look at some of the most admired buildings of the Renaissance or the Baroque, we notice that they are all well-proportioned. That is the essential thing.”
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