Architect Flemming Lassen was one of the pioneers of Danish functionalism. One of his most famous pieces of furniture is The Tired Man easy chair, which was re-introduced in 2015 by the Danish brand By Lassen.
FLEMMING LASSEN was born in 1902 into an artist family in Copenhagen. His mother was a painter and his father a decorative painter. Flemming and his brother Mogens decided at an early age that they would be architects when they grew up. The Lassen brothers have been told to have used their pocket money on architectural books, and during their free time they would often study buildings around their neighborhood and make architectural drawings of them.
However, Flemming Lassen did not follow a traditional path to become an architect: he trained himself through apprenticeships. Lassen’s tenacity and passion for architecture brought the desired outcome, as through years of work, he managed to become a renowned architect without actually getting a degree in the subject.
Campaign: The Tired Man set
Order By Lassen’s The Tired Man lounge chair set and get the matching ottoman free of charge! As described by designer Flemming Lassen, the voluminous and inviting classic from 1935 will make you feel as cosy and safe as a polar bear cub in its mother’s arms. The campaign runs from 28 February until 14 April 2022.
Lassen’s story is closely linked with Arne Jacobsen, considered to be one of Denmark’s best-known architects and designers. The Lassen brothers and Jacobsen learned to know each other already in the 1910s when they were studying at the same boarding school in Denmark. Their friendship continued into adulthood, as Flemming Lassen and Arne Jacobsen started an architectural firm together in the 1930s and designed several buildings and their interiors.
Flemming Lassen and Arne Jacobsen started an architectural firm together in the 1930s and designed several buildings and their interiors.
Flemming Lassen also designed many pieces of furniture during his career, the most famous one is probably the huge The Tired Man armchair. According to him, sitting in the chair should feel ”as warm and safe as a polar bear cub in the arms of its mother in the middle of the ice cap”. The design is based on an armchair, which Lassen designed for the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild’s furniture exhibition in 1935. The chair was presented at the exhibition stand of Danish furniture carpenter A.J. Iversen.
The following year he made changes to the dimensions, and it was introduced by the name of Den Trætte Mand, later to be better known by its English name The Tired Man.
A.J. Iversen made less than 50 of The Tired Man easy chairs, of which one in particular has left its mark in the history books. In 2014, an original The Tired Man easy chair was sold at the Danish Bruun Rasmussen auction at the record price of 1.42 million Danish krone, or some 190,000 euros. The Tired Man was said to be at the time the most expensive armchair ever to be sold at an auction in Denmark.
Flemming Lassen’s relatives established the By Lassen design brand in 2008, re-manufacturing small items and furniture by Flemming and Mogens Lassen. And to the joy of many people, The Tired Man easy chair and the ottoman were again available in 2015, enabling design lovers to get a piece of Danish design history into their homes.
Who: Flemming Lassen (1902–1984)
- Trained to be a bricklayer and architect through apprenticeships. Also studied at the Technical School in Copenhagen
- Together with Arne Jacobsen, won a competition organized by the Danish Association of Architects with the House of the Future in 1927
- Worked in a number of architectural firms before setting up a firm with Arne Jacobsen in the early 1930s, working there until the end of the 1930s. Later set up his own design office
- In the 1930s and 1940s, he not only designed various armchairs but also lamps and other furniture than armchairs, such as the Anoon serving trolley, Mingle sofa, Twin bookcase and Mayor sofa with Arne Jacobsen
- Worked as teacher at the Danish Academy of Fine Art’s School of Architecture from 1951 to 1963
- Designed many buildings during his career in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe, such as the Søllerød Town Hall and interior with Arne Jacobsen in 1942, the Randers Cultural Centre in 1969 and the Lund City Library in Sweden in 1970.
Text: Elina Tuokko Images: By Lassen