Arne Jacobsen – a master of streamlined aesthetic

Arne Jacobsen is best known to many by his chair designs and Louis Poulsen lamps. However, the Danish architect created not only iconic furniture and lighting but also buildings, textiles and interiors.

Louis Poulsen's AJ table lamp in light petrol
The iconic AJ lamp was born in 1957, when Arne Jacobsen designed the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen including its interior and furniture.

FIRST THERE WAS the Ant. Arne Jacobsen, who was interested in technical innovation, designed the chair in 1952. This became his breakthrough in the Fritz Hansen design house, for which he had worked since 1934.

The elegant, thin waistline of the Ant was is fact a compromise: the form-molded laminated veneer would not have bent without breaking if the piece hadn't been made slimmer. As technological advances were made, the Ant's “little brother”, Series 7, or the Seven, was born in 1955.

Jacobsen’s Chair 3107, also known as Seven, is the best-selling product in the history of Fritz Hansen.
Arne Jacobsen
Arne Jacobsen was a master of Danish modernism and one of the most renowned designers of the 20th century.
The AJ City Hall table clock is an updated version of the classic timepiece Jacobsen drew in 1939.
Louis Poulsen AJ wall lamp
The AJ 50 wall lamp from Louis Poulsen is suitable for outdoor use.

Arne Jacobsen was Fritz Hansen's star designer, but he also designed a wide range of other things, such as textiles, wallpapers and silver items. The Cylinda Line tableware series designed for Stelton in 1967 is an iconic classic.

But Jacobsen was first and foremost an architect. The son of a wealthy Jewish family, he first wanted to be an artist but his father managed to persuade him to study architecture. Yet art remained with him as a dear hobby alongside his career as an architect and a designer.

Arne Jacobsen was a productive architect and designer. Art remained with him as a dear hobby alongside his career.

Jacobsen's versatile designer character was crystallized in his most famous building, the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, which was completed in the late 1950s. He also designed the hotel interior right down to the furniture, lamps and cutlery.

The exterior represents a very ascetic and straightforward type of architecture, but the softly formed interior classics, such as the Egg and Swan chairs, are like from the pen of a free artist.

The SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen is one of most well-known work of Arne Jacobsen. Today, only room 606 has the original interior design.
Stelton Cylinda Line
Stelton’s Cylinda Line from 1967 is widely recognized for its simple design and practicality.
The Mayor sofa was created already in the 1903s when Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Lassen designed the Søllerød City Hall and its interior. The timeless piece is available from &Tradition.
Introduced in 1929, Bellevue was the first light designed by Arne Jacobsen. He drew inspiration for the luminaire from the production of metal tubes and the modern design of the Bauhaus era.
Louis Poulsen’s AJ floor lamp is well-suited for general lighting and as a reading light.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Jacobsen designed homes, many of which are still very popular – such as the charming row houses of Bellavista and Søholm in Klampenborg, Copenhagen. He himself lived in Søholm from 1955 until his death.

Arne Jacobsen's starting point for design was need. He said the following about the idea for the Ant: “I realized that people needed new kinds of chairs for their modern kitchens: small, light and inexpensive.”

It was, however, his smooth artistic style, that made his furniture into classics. Esthetics was everything for Jacobsen. “A pastry, too, tastes better if it looks attractive,” he once said.

Arne Jacobsen

Who: Arne Jacobsen (1902–1971)

• He graduated as an architect from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1927.
• Designer for Fritz Hansen 1934–71.
• He designed, among others, homes and industrial building in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe from the 1930s to 1960s.
• SAS Royal Hotel (today known as Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Copenhagen) and interior 1958–60.
• Professor of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts 1956–65.
• Numerous international prizes, such as the Grand Prix in the Milan Triennial in 1957.
• Products designed by Jacobsen are still made by Danish design brands such as Louis Poulsen, &Tradition, Fritz Hansen and Stelton.

Designs by Arne Jacobsen

Louis Poulsen
AJ table lamp
Stelton
Cylinda Line coffee pot
Sika-Design
Paris lounge chair
Rodendahl
AJ City Hall clock
&Tradition
Mayor sofa
&Tradition
Bellevue table lamp
Georg Jensen
Arne Jacobsen cutlery
Arne Jacobsen
AJ Station table clock

See also:

Products designed by Arne Jacobsen >
Louis Poulsen’s AJ collection >

Text: Pirkko Vekkeli Photos: Manufacturers

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