Characteristic for Danish development is the role that idealistic architects and manufacturers have played to realize the vision of everyday furniture, which could fulfill a Danish family’s needs. The most conscious effort is the initiative that the Association for Denmark’s Co-operatives took in 1942. They employed the 28 year old Børge Mogensen as head of a newly started furniture design department and gave him a free hand to create a collection. It was an attempt to continue the Klint school’s theoretical work in unpretentious everyday furniture; a business arrangement, which from the beginning enjoyed great success, and which became a role model for purposeful and successful product development.
Børge Mogensensen, like no other, understood how to continue Kaare Klint’s ideas in uncompromised and at the same time richly varied, independent design, which is the typical functionalism that characterizes Danish furniture design.
In this way, a young Børge Mogensen already had a very personal influence on development in Danish furniture design. His furniture is seldon without role models, but he analyzed these functional or constructive role models and reduced them to the core of their works with an uncompromising consequence, which in itself is a role model. His furniture is both bound by tradition and characteristic of the period and represent some of the most honest works of the era.
Børge Mogensen never let his “style” be influenced by furniture fashion’s fluctuations, which he viewed as haphazard and unpredictable. He always used the same architectural motive. Throughout his life, he remained faithful to the social and artistic ideals he aspired to in his youth. For him, it was the goal to find solutions which valued people and respected both the rational as well as the irrational demands we make on furniture.
He did not design in wood, he designed with wood in well-chosen dimensions and only interfered if it was necessary. His respect for solid wood allowed him therefore seldom to make extensive changes. His furniture is often marked by a robust healthiness.
Several of his chairs and sofas are still produced in series, for example the upholstered furniture series he designed for the Fredericia Chair Factory in 1963, where he demonstrated his ability to unify classic furniture types with his personal interpretation of the assignment and its demands.
Børge Mogensen’s furniture is probably the best evidence of how much the systematic analysis of demands for use can render.
One of his close friends, architect Arne Karlsen, wrote about him that “his work is a monument in modern Danish furniture design, a center of tranquility and conviction in a divided and rootless time”.
Furniture designer, Arts & Crafts School, 1936-38.
Academy of Fine Arts Furniture School, 1938-42.
Employed by architect drawing offices in Copenhagen: Architect Mogens Koch and Kaare Klint, etc., 1938-42.
Head of FDB’s furniture drawing office, 1942-50.
Teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts Furniture School, 1945-47.
Independent drawing office from 1950.
Echersbergs Medal, 1950
Copenhagen’s Carpentry Guild’s Annual Prize, 1953.
C.F. Hansen Medal, 1972.
Has designed furniture for (among others)
Master carpenter Erhard Rasmussen
AB Karl Andersson & Söner
Firmaet Boligens Byggeskabe
P. Lauritzen & Søns Møbelfabrik
C.M. Madsens Fabrikker