Something is scented in the state of Denmark
Amongst functionalistic design styles, the Danish one, influenced by the German Bauhaus, delivered many furniture and household objects which have become archetypes of 20th century and are still in production.
After the end of World War II, Europeans were keen to explore new design solutions and the combination between freedom of individual expression and a tradition of high-quality craftmanship contributed to Denmark’s success in this field.
A considerable part was also played by the newly established Furniture School at the Royal Danish Academy: Kaare Klint (1888 – 1954) taught functionalism underlining how important is to match clean lines based on an understanding of classical craftsmanship with a careful research into materials and size of objects, while Hans Wegner (1914 – 2007) conduced to a unique sense of form and proportions, especially in designing chairs.
The Danish Culture Canon, which, at present days, consists of 108 works of cultural excellence belonging to Denmark’s cultural heritage in different categories such as architecture, visual arts, design and crafts, film, literature, music, performing arts and children’s culture, count Poul Henningsen’ (1894 – 1967) lamp shade system – uninterruptedly produced since 1925 – and Verner Panton’s (1926 – 1998) homonymous chair, designed in 1960.
Other champions of Danish design are Børge Mogensen (1914 – 1972), Finn Juhl (1912 – 1989) and Poul Kjærholm (1929 – 1980), whose mission was to create affordable furniture and household objects that were both functional and elegant, and, mainly, Arne Jacobsen (1902 – 1971), who was encouraged by the American designer Charles Eames and finnish Eero Saarinen production to design one of the most famous pieces of furniture of all times, the Egg Chair, Denmark's first industrially manufactured chair and originally created to furnish the Radisson SAS Hotel in Copenhagen.
The Egg, as well as the the Swan Chair, was also designed as a couch. While the Swan couch is still in production, only a handful of Egg couches have ever been made. A few, as said, were realized for the Radisson Hotel, so to match the chairs, and some others ended being a special edition of sort: the reasons for the limited production of the Egg couch, besides the wish for exclusivity, are the difficulties involved in making it (the couch is too big to be covered by two entire cow-hides, which is possible only with the Egg chair, and this leaves a very visible stitching down the middle of the couch) and the fact the price was quite high; roughly, the equivalent of 75,000 US$.
To retrieve past successes, however, in 2002 the Danish Government and the City of Copenhagen launched an effort to establish a world event for design in Copenhagen. Originally understood as a tool for branding traditional Danish design, the non-profit organization INDEX: shifted its focus and coined the concept of Design to Improve Life, which rapidly became celebrated in Denmark and around the world. The organization now hands out the biggest biannual design award in the world, developes large scale outdoor exhibitions and runs an educational program as well as design labs.