“Finn Juhl designed an armchair, recliner, whatever you want to call it, and it's so lively that it seems as if it's quivering with vitality. Its expensive, and it’s delicate, but it'll always be a winner…” Politiken in 1949 on the Cheftain chair
Born: 1912, in Frederiksberg Died: 1989, in Ordrup
"Finn Juhl designed an armchair, recliner, whatever you want to call it, and it's so lively that it seems as if it's quivering with vitality. It's expensive, and it's delicate, but it'll always be a winner..." Politiken in 1949, on Finn Juhl's Chieftain Chair
Finn Juhl actually wanted to become an art historian, but his father wasn't particularly excited about that; he didn't believe it was possible to make a living off of art history. Juhl's true interest in art, however, followed him through his whole life, and had a significant impact on his expositions and furniture alike. African art and antique Egyptian furniture inspired his own designs, which became some of his most successful furniture.
Finn Juhl's organic design language was inspired by such contemporary, international and modernist artists as Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and Danish sculptor Erik Thommesen. That occasionally voluminous, curving design language wasn't always easy to swallow in Kaare Klint's puritan Denmark. Most of Finn Juhl's designs didn't achieve popularity until after his death. Today, demand for Juhl's furniture is rising sharply.
Unlike his colleagues, Børge Mogensen, Ole Wanscher, and Poul Kjærholm, who all carried on Klint's school in their own ways, Finn Juhl, like Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen, found his own means of expression in a freer interpretation of the relationship between form and function. None of the three educated in Klint's school took this direction. Finn Juhl considered the Klint school rigid and schematic. Juhl preferred, instead, to focus on the art in furniture, resulting in a long series of experimental furniture pieces.
Finn Juhl was employed for ten years by one of the leading modernist architects of the time, Vilhelm Lauritzen. Among other projects, the studio was asked to design and decorate the Copenhagen Airport and Radio House, which stand today as examples of two impeccably executed, functional buildings.
Finn Juhl achieved great recognition, both in Denmark and abroad, for his organic, sculptural design language, and for his productive collaboration with master carpenter Niels Vodder, which resulted in ground-breaking methods and techniques. In life, Finn Juhl was something of a man of the world, taking the United States by storm on more than one occasion. This put numerous collaborations in motion, including products for Baker Furniture and the interior design for the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York.
With experience from his employment with Vilhelm Lauritzen, where he contributed to several holistic projects, Finn Juhl completed a number of interior design projects, including for Bing & Grøndahl's store at Amager Square (1946), the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York (1951), Georg Jensen's store in New York (1952), Toronto (1956), London (1957), museum spaces at the Nordenfjeld Art and Design Museum in Norway (1952), the Triennale in Milan (1954 & 1957), and several SAS terminals in Europe and Asia (1956-1961 ).
"I started at home, around 10 o'clock in the morning, with a five-centimetre sketch — just four vertical strokes connected with 'something' — and by two or three o'clock the next morning, I had painted it, and off it went." — Finn Juhl on the Chieftain Chair, 1949.
Besides Niels Vodder, Juhl's furniture was also produced by Bovirke, France & Son, Baker Furniture, Ludvig Pontoppidan, Søren Willadsen, Cado, Carl Brorup and others. Among Finn Juhl's best-known designs are Pelikanstolen "The Pelican Chair", Poeten sofa ("The Poet Sofa"), the NV 45 armchair, Høvdingestolen ("The Chieftain Chair"), Japansofaen ("The Japan Sofa"), and Egypterstolen ("The Egyptian Chair").
Buy a furniture classic by Finn Juhl
At KLASSIK, we deal in original pieces of furniture by designers like Finn Juhl. That means that individual pieces may easily be more than 50 years old, but Finn Juhl and his contemporaries didn't just unite form and function with their furniture—they were also produced in incredibly high quality, making them even more beautiful today. If you can't find the item or piece of furniture you're looking for, please contact us with your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at +45 33 33 90 60. Of course, you're always welcome to visit us in our shop, too, where you can experience many of these classic pieces of furniture for yourself.