10 Iconic Danish Furniture Designs you probably know

At Brainchild, we celebrate Danish furniture classics through our literal interpretations. On this page, we dive deeper into 10 of the furniture classics we have interpreted. Do you know them all?

Brainchild's designs are inspired by and in recognition of the Danish furniture designers who set a new standard for Danish furniture design in the 1950s and 60s. These designers created iconic pieces that we, as consumers, still use to decorate our homes today.

At Brainchild, we take pride in interpreting Danish furniture classics, in our own way bringing the creative and experimental design language into our time. We never compromise, because the furniture designers never would. We create posters, bedding, wooden figures and much more home accessories that are worthy of the furniture classics and set the standard for contemporary design.

On this page, we take you back to the time when the Danish furniture classics first saw the light of day, and each and every one became part of an important design period that we continue to admire.

The Swan – Arne Jacobsen

The chair without straight lines

The Swan is one of three chairs that Arne Jacobsen (born 1902) designed in 1958 for his great masterpiece, the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.

Arne Jacobsen received particular recognition for his chairs. It was unprecedented in Danish furniture design that chairs with such sleek designs had no straight lines. With its soft curves and simple expression, the Swan became a masterpiece that reflects an iconic period in Danish design history. Arne Jacobsen, along with a group of other architects including Finn Juhl and Poul Henningsen, became part of the groundbreaking modernist movement. These architects set the standard for a new, more simple and modern way of living – which we still draw inspiration from today when we furnish our living spaces.

You can't say furniture classic without also saying Swan. So of course the Swan is also one of our favorite interpretations, and it graces our posters in a symphony of shapes and colors.

Our interpretation of the Swan is available as posters, canvas prints, wooden figures and key rings. Our wooden figure, the Swan Figure, won the prestigious design award 'Bolig Magasinets Design Favoritter 2021', which we are very proud of.

The Pelican – Finn Juhl

The chair that flew ahead of Its time

Finn Juhl (born 1912) described himself as a self-taught furniture designer. His dream was to become an art historian, but his father thought he should be an architect. However, Finn Juhl never completed his architectural education because his work as a furniture designer took up too much of his time.

In his work as a furniture designer, Finn Juhl had a more artistic approach to his design processes than many other modernist architects who focused on the practical function of furniture. He saw his furniture designs as small sculptures and worked extensively with organic forms. The furniture was to radiate a unified whole, which meant that in working with the different elements and parts, it was important for Finn Juhl that the transition between the different elements should appear as natural as possible, and often completely invisible.

In 1940, Finn Juhl designed the Pelican chair. With its sculptural and somewhat "strange" organic shape, the chair was ahead of its time. The back and seat of the chair are both fully upholstered and the stitching is almost invisible. The chair resembles a soaring bird on thick legs. The Pelican was perhaps a little too ahead of its time, as it was forgotten and not produced again until 2001. Today, the chair fits perfectly into the modern interior design trends and is produced in both fabric and leather.

The Pelican spreads its wings and flies into our range, where it lands beautifully among our other interpretations of Danish furniture classics.

The Papa Bear Chair – Hans J. Wegner

A warm hug without limitations

In 1951, Hans J. Wegner (born 1914) designed The Papa Bear Chair. Many see The Papa Bear Chair as the embracing teddy bear that just stands waiting for you to sit down so it can give you a hug. That's what one journalist thought, at least, when he first saw the chair. The meeting with the journalist became the chair's baptism, as it was given its famous nickname at this meeting.

With its characteristic shape, The Papa Bear Chair was a reinterpretation of the well-known wingback chair. The Papa Bear Chair was meant to embrace, but not restrict the user of the chair. In this context, the chair also got its characteristic "protruding" armrests, with space for the user to vary their sitting position. With its upholstered exterior, the chair may seem vulnerable, as fabric is not as durable as leather, but with an upholstery in Hallingdal fabric, The Papa Bear Chair became very durable. The Papa Bear Chair is an iconic armchair that does not compromise on quality or comfort.

Brainchild's literal interpretation of The Papa Bear Chair plays with the idea that the journalist expressed when he first saw the chair – the embracing teddy bear with its paws and soft expression. Brainchild's interpretation of The Papa Bear Chair is a favorite among both children and adults.

The Ant – Arne Jacobsen

Small but strong

The Ant was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1952 for the canteen of the company Novos (now Novo Nordisk). With its narrow waist and three legs, the Ant fits perfectly into a canteen, where it should take up as little space as possible. However, Novo Nordisk changed the design in 1971, when the chair was given an extra leg. The design change was made because Novo Nordisk wanted to avoid their employees getting injured from tipping accidents on the chair during their lunch break.

The Ant is the first chair in Danish design history where the seat and back are one piece. It is a so-called shell chair, where both the back and seat consist of many layers of moulded veneer and where the wood was forced into a position that had not been seen before in furniture design. This made the chair stackable, which is an advantage both when transporting and storing it. The technique developed further during modernism and set the agenda for a whole new way of designing furniture.

Arne Jacobsen created a groundbreaking symphony in the Ant, an aesthetically beautiful piece of furniture with a simple and comfortable shape. The Ant was not originally designed for private consumers, as, seen from the perspective of the time, you didn't get much furniture for your money when you bought the chair. Fortunately, over time, the Ant came into private homes, where it can still be found today.

The Ant doesn't take up much space, but it still occupies a large place in Danish design history, and it has become one of the classics that we like to decorate our homes with. Like the chair, Brainchild's interpretation of the Ant is simple in its design, but with its beautiful details and humorous expression, it will surely win your design heart.

The Pine Cone – Poul Henningsen

A shining example of Danish Design

The Pine Cone was designed by Poul Henningsen (born 1894), also known as PH, for the opening of the Langelinie Pavilion in 1956, where the first Pine Cone can still be seen today.

Poul Henningsen was a trained architect, but he probably spent just as much of his time being a cultural critic. Poul Henningsen was a man who was ahead of his time and who did not hold back when it came to sharing his opinions.

PH was innovative, both in his approach to design and in his approach to culture. He was an advocate for a new and freer time, both for art and culture.

PH's critical and innovative thinking was particularly evident in his lighting designs, of which The Pine Cone chandelier is one of his greatest works.

If you compare The Pine Cone to other chandeliers of the time, it is clear that PH had a completely different idea of how a lamp should function in a room.

In the 1950s, the electric light source was part of the household inventory, but the chandeliers of the time were not created to carry electric light sources. Now the lamps began to glare and they were not at all functional in the otherwise so functional everyday life.

Poul Henningsen wanted to create a lamp that belonged to the modern age. PH created an innovative and functional solution – the three-shade lamp. With the three shades, a groundbreaking lamp system was created. The light was now cast to the places in the room that needed to be lit up, without the lamp absorbing the light. Most importantly, PH made lamps that did not glare. This technique made PH a world-renowned architect, and with his legacy the success has only grown.

The Pine Cone chandelier is a result of PH's critical thinking and must be said to be a stroke of genius. The lamp has now been around for over 6 decades and is a hit like never before.

Brainchild's literal interpretations of Poul Henningsen's Pine Cone light up any home.

The Egg – Arne Jacobsen

A sculptural winner

In 1958, architect and furniture designer Arne Jacobsen designed the world-renowned Egg chair. The Egg was originally designed as part of Arne Jacobsen's total design for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The Egg was intended to provide a soft interior, contrasting with the hotel's stringent exterior.

The chair is an example of the time's, and especially Arne Jacobsen's, experimentation with raw materials and their properties. With its organic, sculptural and clean shapes, The Egg is the ultimate antithesis to the sharp edges of the SAS Royal Hotel. The Egg and The Swan were designed to adorn the hotel's lounge, and they continue to adorn the lounge to this day. It is clear to see similarities in The Egg and The Swan's design language, where the organic shapes and uniform steel feet create a unified design expression. The Egg has since become an icon of the modern era. The Egg's design language speaks very much to the current trends in home living and reflects many of the values that are cultivated in contemporary interior design.

The Egg is Brainchild's first literal interpretation of a Danish furniture classic, and will therefore always have a special place in our hearts. The Egg is available as a poster, canvas print, wooden figure and key ring, and is of course also included as an icon on our bedding, sofa cushions, tote bags, and more.

The Snowdrop – Poul Henningsen

The luminous flower with a speaking design language

The snowdrop is a symbol of hope and a sign that we are heading towards brighter times.

In 1930, Poul Henningsen designed the table lamp The Snowdrop. With its three glass shades, The Snowdrop, is another of Poul Henningsen's three-shade lamps. The lamp provides pleasant light without glare. With its organic shape, The Snowdrop sways gently and spreads its white shades, just like a snowdrop in nature spreads its white petals and illuminates its surroundings.

At Brainchild, we are fascinated by the imagery that inspired Poul Henningsen. Brainchild's interpretation of The Snowdrop is a light and fresh motif that spreads light and airiness in your home decor.

The Drop – Arne Jacobsen

Spreading to our homes like ripples in water

Arne Jacobsen is especially known for his total designs. He has particularly made his mark in Aarhus, where he designed the beautiful city hall, but he is nevertheless particularly known for having designed the SAS Hotel Royal in Copenhagen, where he created a harmonious total design by thinking of the hotel as a whole. The stringent and square exterior was to have an organic interior. The Drop is one of the chairs that Arne Jacobsen designed for the hotel. The Drop was meant to embrace its guest, but at the same time create complete freedom of movement. Together with The Egg and The Swan, it is a strong trio that guarantees good comfort and an aesthetic design language that only Arne Jacobsen can create.

The chair has been out of production for a number of years, but from 2014 it was produced again. The Drop is an example of the sustainable aesthetics that Arne Jacobsen and many of the other modernist architects cultivated. It is a chair that can manage to "disappear" in an era, so as soon as it sees the light of day again, it easily fits into our decor, like the light drops of a rain shower.

Arne Jacobsen had The Drop as one of his own favorites, and here at Brainchild we understand why. You will find our interpretation of The Drop in a multitude of colors and shapes, both as posters, canvas prints, wooden figures, etc.

Flowerpot – Verner Panton

The lamp that illuminated Denmark in color

In the 1950s and 1960s, Danish interiors were gray. Furniture designers of the time did not experiment much with colors and materials, so much of the interior design of the time looked similar. It was also not in Denmark that the designer Verner Panton (born 1926) first made his breakthrough with his colorful designs.

In 1970, Verner Panton participated in a furniture fair in Germany. He created an exhibition, Visiona 2, which consisted of one large total design. As part of this total design, the Flowerpot lamp appeared in a variety of colors. With its colorful and somewhat different design language, the flower-inspired enamel lamp caught the attention of many. Louis Poulsen, who produced the lamp at the time, was busier than ever before. As a reaction to the pendant's success, Verner Panton now designed the Flowerpot as a table lamp, so that the lamp could be available as both a pendant and a table lamp in a variety of colors.

There is no doubt that Flowerpot is a child of its time. The lamp was born into a Flower Power era, where parts of society broke with the ideals and norms of previous generations. It was time to think differently, experimentally and creatively. Flowerpot is an iconic example of the thinking of the time. Flowerpot got its name from Verner Panton's fascination with the Flower Power movement's visions of a world filled with 'peace, love and harmony'.

The lamp was visionary, creative and simple. It was meant to create joy, light and thoughts of a more free everyday life. There is no doubt that the lamp impressed its audience and continues to do so today, where &Tradition is very successful in integrating the lamp into contemporary trends.

Flowerpot has added color to society, and it is impossible to ignore Flowerpot when talking about Danish design classics. Brainchild's interpretation of Flowerpot is an indispensable player in our collection of motifs, and adds a playful light to our product range.

The Peacock Chair – Hans J. Wegner

Decorative minimalism

The Peacock Chair is an iconic armchair designed by carpenter and furniture designer Hans J. Wegner. The armchair was put into production in 1947 and is still produced today.

The Peacock Chair is a result of Hans J. Wegner's sense of good craftsmanship and aesthetics. Wegner experimented with form and design in his quest to create the perfect chair. The Peacock Chair is made of wooden sticks and thus belongs to the spindle chair family. During modernism, spindle chairs became a new, groundbreaking furniture tradition in Denmark, which gave society completely new types of everyday furniture. The furniture was to be light, simple and comfortable to sit in, so that it would fit into all homes, from the small apartment to the large villa.

When Hans J. Wegner designed The Peacock Chair in 1947, it was not intended for the chair to have a special, decorative character. It was also not Wegner's intention for the armchair to resemble a peacock, but a combination of the simple and ergonomic aesthetics culminated in the chair's beautiful back. The flat elements on the back of the chair make it comfortable to lean back in the chair, despite its simple and slender materials. Furniture designer Finn Juhl could see a similarity between the beautiful peacock's feathers and Hans J. Wegner's new armchair. Finn Juhl believed that the back of the armchair spread out beautifully, like a peacock's feathers. It was thus Finn Juhl himself who gave The Peacock Chair its nickname.

Brainchild's interpretation of Hans J. Wegner's iconic Peacock Chair is a magnificent tribute to the creative and innovative furniture classic that set the standard for our time's design icons. The Peacock is a colorful and captivating motif that, like the chair, attracts the attention of the beholder.

Brainchild's Design Classics

Did you know all of the furniture classics? We have now taken a tour of 10 unique designs, which we at Brainchild interpret literally.

If you are interested in seeing our tribute and contribution to Danish design history, take a look at our posters, wooden figures and many other exciting products, which will surely put a smile on your face.

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