Since the turn of the century, various Danish factory owners worked closely with architects in the development of new furniture designs. This cooperation has during the course of 100 years, resulted in furniture design of a very high quality, which has helped to make the concept "Danish Modern Furniture Design" internationally renowned.
After the First World War, a rebellion began within all artistic disciplines, against the established concept of art and lifestyle, which was considered pretentious and outdated. With new technological inventions such as aircrafts, cars, express trains and Atlantic liners, a completely new furniture style developed, inspired by the new comfortable, simple and free lifestyle of the modern person, free from unnecessary adornment. In the beginning of the 1920s, Danish factories began to work with lightly built furniture models made from steam bent wood, inspired by foreign furniture manufacturers. The method of steam bending was established in the 1850s by Austrian Thonet-Mundus, from Vienna. A chair made from steam bent wood is therefore named the Vienna Chair.
Architect and Professor Kaare Klint is considered to have laid the foundations for the "new" Danish furniture tradition. In the 1920s he had already begun strictly functional analyses of how furniture functions, down to the very last detail. In 1924, Kaare Klint opened the Department of Furniture and Interior Design at the Academy of fine Arts Architect school.
In the 1930s the Danish furniture manufacturers began to work with completely new construction principles, based on the use of bent chrome plated tubular steel, sometimes combined with glass or leather. Tubular steel furniture never won widespread popularity in Denmark. Humorist Robert Storm Petersen, perhaps best represent the popular opinion of tubular steel furniture, in the statement: "They will only become really comfortable when the pipes are heated!"
The second World War meant commodity rationing and scarcity in Denmark. Metals were in short supply, but wood could easily be obtained. At the same time, The Second World War brought on the emergence of new technology in many connections. A significant development for the furniture industry was the invention of synthetic quick-drying glue. This enabled the development of laminating, where thin layers of veneer are glued onto furniture surfaces.
Architect Hans J. Wegner qualified as a cabinet maker in 1931 with final qualifications in the Technological Institutes cabinet making course in 1936, and the School of Arts and Crafts Cabinet Making School, in 1936-38. Hans J. Wegner has designed more chair models than any other Danish architect - his models number over 500. His knowledge of the possibilities of wood as a work material has allowed him to create harmonious and user-friendly designs. Hans J. Wegner has won many awards and international recognition for his designs and has, to a large degree, contributed to making the concept "Danish Modern Furniture design" recognized internationally.
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