Join us October 17 for a discussion of The Chieftain and the Chair: The Rise of Danish Design in Postwar America with art historian and ASF Fellow Maggie Taft! With moderator Eva Christine Jensen, she will discuss how Danish design rose to prominence in the postwar United States, becoming shorthand for stylish modern comfort, as explored in her book out now from University of Chicago Press.
Today, Danish Modern design is synonymous with clean, midcentury cool. During the 1950s and ‘60s, it flourished as the furniture choice for Americans who hoped to signal they were current and chic. But how did this happen? How did Danish Modern become the design movement of the times? In The Chieftain and the Chair, Maggie Taft tells the tale of our love affair with Danish Modern design. Structured as a biography of two iconic chairs—Finn Juhl’s Chieftain Chair and Hans Wegner’s Round Chair, both designed and first fabricated in 1949—this book follows the chairs from conception and fabrication through marketing, distribution, and use.
Drawing on research in public and private archives, Taft considers how political, economic, and cultural forces in interwar Denmark laid the foundations for the postwar furniture industry, and she tracks the deliberate maneuvering on the part of Danish creatives and manufacturers to cater to an American market. Taft also reveals how American tastemakers and industrialists were eager to harness Danish design to serve American interests and how furniture manufacturers around the world were quick to capitalize on the fad by flooding the market with copies.
Sleek and minimalist, Danish Modern has experienced a resurgence of popularity in the last few decades and remains a sought after design. This accessible and engaging history offers a unique look at its enduring rise among tastemakers.
The talk will take place at Scandinavia House. Registration recommended; sign up at the link above.
Scandinavia House thanks SuiteNY for generously loaning out two Wegner Round Chairs for the event.
About the Author
Maggie Taft is an art historian and founding director of Writing Space, a community-based writing center for artists and designers in Chicago.
She was an ASF Fellow in 2011 and is coeditor of Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now.
About the Moderator
Eva Christine Jensen, AIA, MAA is the founder and principal of Eva Jensen Design, an award-winning New York-based Architecture and Interior Design Studio with a niche in high-end residential architecture. Born and raised in Denmark, Eva Jensen studied Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture (KADK) in Copenhagen, and at the Politecnico di Milano. Before establishing her own office in New York, Eva was engaged as an assistant professor at KADK, and worked internationally for renowned architects including Angelo Mangiarotti in Milan, Henning Larsen Architects in Copenhagen, and Shelton Mindel & Associates in New York. EJD Studio emphasizes research as part of the architectural practice with an enthusiasm for design innovation. Previously granted residencies at both the Danish Institute in Rome and Athens, Eva Jensen is recipient of numerous awards and a design patent.