Arne Jacobsen (1902 – 1971) was a Danish architect and designer associated with the Functionalist movement. He worked in close cooperation with Fritz Hansen, a Danish furniture design company, creating his most iconic and famous works from the 1950s onwards. The architectural achievements made by Jacobsen have largely been overshadowed by the success of his furniture but there is little doubt that his architectural training would have influenced his understanding of the structure and function of objects. Much like other designers of his time, Arne Jacobsen’s work speaks of elegance and glamour through simplicity and comfort.
As a student of the Royal Academy of the Arts in Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen enrolled to study architecture. As a young professional, his work was based on private houses being commissioned to him, before he moved on to apartment blocks and city development. His architectural work, though perhaps undervalued at the time is acknowledged as an integral part of the Danish modern movement. Greatly inspirered by the developments in furniture design made by Charles and Ray Eames, Jacobsen began designing chairs. This resulted in the iconic Ant chair and Series 7, made in partnership with Fritz Hansen. While pursuing furniture design, Jacobsen continued to work as an architect and in 1966 was awarded the opportunity to design the National Bank of Denmark in Copenhagen. His legacy has placed him as of Denmark’s most influential designers of the 20th Century.
Arne Jacobsen, Egg Chair (circa 1960) H: 107 W: 88 D: 80 cm, leather and polished steel, Fritz Hansen Denmark
Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair was first designed in 1958. It was specifically manufactured by Fritz Hansen to be placed in the reception area of the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen. The chair is characteristic of Jacobsen’s modernist approach to design, with smooth shapes and state of the art materials. The curves and sloping of the chair makes it a comfortable seat, while it’s sophisticated aesthetic makes it a versatile piece that would suit a range of environments. The elegant design of the Egg Chair has been featured in various films and magazines and has been used by large corporations to elevate the aesthetics of their interiors. Michelle Pfeiffer was shown seated in one on the cover of Esquire magazine, which placed the chair as one of the sexiest designs. The stylish design of Jacobsen’s egg chair has inspired many chair designs that have followed, specifically by its fusion of leisure and style. Arne Jacobsen’s appreciation for quality and structure is evident in the piece, as it seems to envelope those lucky enough to sit in one with an aura of glamour and sophistication.
Arne Jacobsen, Swan Chair (early example, circa 1960) H: 76cm W: 73cm D: 60 cm, fabric and polished steel, Fritz Hansen Denmark
The Swan Chair is another of Arne Jacobsen’s classic pieces. The chair was commissioned, along with his Egg Chair to be placed in the Radisson Hotel lobby in 1958. The hotel itself was a full project that Jacobsen worked on and was thus able to test out various design theories and solidify his own style. The Swan Chair is a particularly important design piece because of its technological innovations – only curved shapes and no straight lines make up the chair’s body.