Danish company Mater updated the 1950s outdoor furniture collection by Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel to the modern day. The material of the Ocean furniture is now recycled waste plastic from oceans – and green Carlsberg beer barrels.
MATER'S AWARD WINNING Ocean outdoor furniture combines simple 1950s design and materials suitable for recycling. Danish design company Mater joined forces with Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel’s design tradition for the first time in 2019, and the story continued in 2021, when the OC2 furniture that is part of the Ocean collection was launched.
Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel met while studying at The Arts and Crafts School in Copenhagen in 1943. The young couple married in July 1946 and started their design studio the same fall in Copenhagen. The couple had three daughters in the early 1950s. Nanna and Jørgen began designing products together as soon as they met, and took part in many design competitions.
Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel designed this set of minimalistic garden furniture in 1955. The chair and table, designed for outdoor use, received their timeless shape from the metal frame of painted black tubes and the wide but thin pieces of wood used for the chair and the table top.
Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel designed the set of minimalistic garden furniture in 1955.
The Ditzels are believed to have initially design the outdoor furniture for their own use, because according to the couple’s eldest daughter, Dennie Ditzel, they rarely found products on the market that met their criteria. The chair and table was manufactured until the end of the 1950s by Danish furniture factory Kolds Savværk, which manufactured also other furniture designed by the couple.
Jørgen Ditzel died in 1961, when he was only 40. Nanna decided to continue working in design, which had been a joint project for the couple. Nanna remarried in 1968, with a German furniture entrepreneur Kurt Heide. Nanna lived and worked in London for several years, until she moved back to Denmark in 1985 after Kurt’s death.
Back in Copenhagen, Nanna decided to start her own design studio, and was joined by her daughter Dennie in 1995. Nanna died in 2005, working with design until the very end. After her death, Dennie Ditzel took over the Nanna Ditzel Design studio, and is currently in charge of ensuring that her parents’ legacy lives on.
Only small adjustments were made to the original dimensions of the chair and table.
Mater and the Ditzels began to cooperate in 2018, when Mater started looking for a partner whose design suited their new method of production of sustainable furniture. Mater contacted Dennie Ditzel and they started going through the design studio archives, until they found what they were looking for in the outdoor furniture the couple had designed.
Only small adjustments were made to the original dimensions of the chair and table. They also changed the chair and table top material from wood to recycled plastic, made of plastic waste and old fishing nets obtained from the oceans.
Mater’s first Ocean collection was launched in 2019 in a few colors, and the same year it received the Wallpaper* magazine’s design award. The Ocean collection also included an additional bench, and a smaller table, for two.
A few years later, Mater launched the second version of the collection, OC2. In this, the material used is recycled Carlsberg beer barrels, giving the furniture the distinctive green tone. The Ocean collection was also increased with a lounge chair and sofa table.
Who: Nanna Ditzel & Jørgen Ditzel
- The Danish couple designed furniture, jewelry, textiles and other small items for household use.
- Their best-known pieces of furniture include the Ditzel lounge chair (1953), ND54 high chair (1954) and the Hanging Egg chair (1959).
- Awards: first prize in the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild furniture exhibition in 1950, silver medal in the Milan Triennial in 1954, Lunning Prize in 1956 and gold medal in the Milan Triennial in 1960.
Text: Elina Tuokko Images: Mater