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Designer Arne Jacobsen and the legendary egg chair

Kiến trúc sư nhà thiết kế Arne Jacobsen

The Egg Chair is very popular in today’s life. They are shaped like an egg with beautiful curving curves. Maybe you don’t know, this chair with personality and unique design was designed in the 50s of the last century, by a Danish designer and architect – Arne Emil Jacobsen. In the twentieth century, he was very famous for his contributions to the Functionalism movement. And was in the top of the most famous interior designers in the world at that time.

Today’s article topic, we will learn about designer Arne Jacobsen and his life-changing works in his career. Especially the legendary egg chair.

– Biography of Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen was born on February 11, 1902 in Copenhagen (Denmark). His father, Johan, was a wholesaler of safety pins and screws. His mother Pouline was a bank teller with a hobby of floral prints. Initially, he hoped to become a painter, but was dissuaded by his mother, who encouraged him to choose the safer field of architecture. From a young age, Jacobsen showed a gift and passion for the arts. He used to hand-paint the Victorian wallpaper in his bedroom with white paint, because he thought it was the color that really looked good. Jacobsen’s aesthetic was ahead of its time.

Growing up Jacobsen joined a group of apprentice builders. He was later admitted to the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Here, he met and interacted with many leading architects and designers. During his time as a student, Jacobsen also once submitted products to the Paris Art Deco fair, and won a silver medal. His graduation project was a gallery, which also won a gold medal.

After completing his program at the architecture school, Jacobsen worked briefly in the architectural firm of Poul Holsøe. Jacobsen, in collaboration with architect Flemming Lassen, has won the House of the Future award presented by the Danish Association of Architects. This success allowed him to open his own practice in 1929. Over the next few years, Jacobsen created many structures in the International Modern Style and registered the concept of “total design”, creating everything from furniture and accessories to the uniforms of the building’s employees.

During World War II, Jacobsen was forced to flee to Sweden, where he spent most of his time designing wallpaper and textiles. In 1945, he returned to Denmark and continued his architectural pursuits, including the 7 Series Chair and the Ant chair, establishing his reputation as a world-renowned furniture designer. In 1956, he received his most prestigious commission, the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, where he created everything from the smallest detail, including the ashtray, lighting and cutlery. In addition, he produces Egg and Swan chairs, which are appreciated for their organic, sculptural quality. Also in 1956, he accepted a position as professor of architecture at Skolen for Brugskunst.

Jacobsen died suddenly in 1971, when there were still many architectural projects still unfinished.

– Arne Jacobsen’s career

Throughout his career, Jacobsen was never able to decide between architecture and design, thus conceiving projects with a combination of the two. This is the reason that every piece of architecture by Jacobsen is accompanied by small details that demonstrate his great love for art. He used to think a lot even for the wallpaper, carpeting, furniture and lighting, he wanted to turn his projects into a complete work of art.

Today, more people know him in the field of interior design. Even today, a Danish company called Vola is reviving its classic designs through their products. However, during his lifetime Jacobsen never identified himself as a designer, nor did he even like people calling him by that name. He always believed that he was an architect.

Despite this, Jacobsen is still considered one of the 20 most famous Danish interior designers.

– Egg Chair – Famous work of Arne Jacobsen

The egg chair is a classic design that has become one of the most recognizable and copycat chairs of all time.

The egg chair was originally designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 for the SAS Royal hotel in downtown Copenhagen. Jacobsen was commissioned to design every element of the building, from the walls to the furniture, including the cutlery that will be used in the restaurant, the lighting and even the ashtray. He took the opportunity to work on some of the ideas he had on how architecture and furniture could be better integrated, and that included egg chairs.

The Egg Chair is the most prominent part of his entire hotel design and has become a globally successful classic. It broke all design conventions with its curvaceous shape, which Jacobsen was able to achieve by molding the internal structure from foam and wrapping it in upholstery. Jacobsen experimented with clay in his garage, testing and perfecting shapes, before moving on to foam sculpting.

The elliptical chair acts like a cocoon around the person, gently curving inwards into the egg shape for which it is named. It rests on a rotating star-shaped base and the angle adjusts to the user’s weight.

Egg chair is designed for the lobby, the hotel is equipped with 50 chairs with the first version. Its rounded shape stands out against the horizontal and vertical lines of the 22-story building in which it is housed.

The foam layer makes the chair extremely light, ensuring that the hotel staff can move the 50 originals around with ease. The 1958 chairs weighed just over 7kg. The materials used today, a more advanced engineering foam with fiberglass reinforcement, make modern versions a bit heavier.

The shape of the Egg chair defined the era, and Jacobsen was one of the most imitated designers of the last century. 60 years have passed, and the chair – the original and its many clones, imitations and variations – is still as popular as ever.

Egg chair (middle), swan chair (left), Drop chair (right) of Jacobsen
Egg chair (middle), swan chair (left), Drop chair (right)

– Other famous chairs by Arne Jacobsen

+/ Swan chair (Swan)

The Swan Chair was designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen, the same architect and designer who created the Egg chair. Along with the Egg chair, the Swan chair was originally built for the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen (also designed by Jacobsen). The chair allows hotel guests to rotate the swivel base and rotate 360 ​​degrees to enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the hotel, while creating a sense of comfort. As a chair without straight lines, the Swan is a technological innovation in furniture design. Created in a modern Danish style, the chair quickly became an icon.

Swan chair with a completely curved design
Swan chair with a completely curved design

+/ Series 7 seats:

Also known as the number 7 chair designed in 1995, is the best-selling chair line of this furniture company. Ser7 chair is also known as curved back chair, diverse colors, high quality wooden chair, sturdy leg frame suitable for office, side chair, pedestal chair, bar chair or chair for children…

The chair is lightweight and stackable, providing a wide range of uses from corporate environments to modern homes. It looks like an ant chair but has 4 legs instead of 3.

Seat number 7, still widely used today, Jacobsen
Seat number 7, still widely used today

+/ Ant chair:

The Ant Chair predates the egg chair, which gained popularity quickly and was actually used in the cafeteria of Novo Nordisks, a pharmaceutical company, in the early 1950s. This model is known for its simplicity made up of just two pieces: one piece of molded material for the seat and back and the second piece that transforms into three legs. Even so, it still looks stylish in intimate spaces like the modern kitchen.

This design of Jacobsen was born based on the actual needs of social life at that time. He noticed that people needed a new type of chair for the small kitchens that were common in most buildings at the time, a small, light, inexpensive chair.

Initially, the manufacturer still did not believe in the potential of this product. Until Jacobsen promised to buy back all those seats if they didn’t sell. Finally, it also overcomes the skepticism of the manufacturer.

Despite its compact form and svelte form, the ant chair is comfortable for the user. In the first version, the ant chair only had three legs, but during use, it could lose balance when the chair was tilted back, causing the occupant to fall. He improved by bringing back the traditional four-legged chair. Ant chairs are made of folding wood with a base with three or four legs made of chrome.

Ant chairs are unique and slim, they can be stacked quite neatly
Ant chairs are unique and slim, they can be stacked quite neatly

+/ Oxford chair

The Oxford chair was designed in 1968 for professors at St. Catherine in Oxford in 1963. When they selected him to design the extension to St. Catherine, he also designs the landscape and the furniture. This chair has two main versions: low back chair and high back chair. The distinctive high-back chair is a symbol of fame as well as creativity for the space itself in which it is placed.

The Oxford chair set was also subject to dissatisfaction and objection at the time of design because Jacobsen was a foreign modernist designer. However, after completing the project, Arne Jacobsen still received an honorary doctorate from Oxford. It was a groundbreaking example of a design, one of his finest works. The Oxford chairs are still produced and brought to life like the originals of the time.

The Oxford chair comes in two variations (high and low backrest), both of which are perfectly suited for offices, meeting rooms or reception areas. It represents another classic Jacobsen design that combines modernity with function.

The oxford chair, which has high and low backrests, is still popular in office spaces today
The oxford chair, which has high and low backrests, is still popular in office spaces today

Arne Jacobsen is a famous interior designer and architect from the last century. But his legacy remains epochal, and his works can be found in many international collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Design Museum in London. and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Fine Arts.


Read more: The 20 Most Famous Interior Designers in the World

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