FDB Møbler leads a new era in Danish modernism

FDB Møbler is following the path of the Danish Consumers’ Co-operative Society FDB as the country’s beloved furniture maker. With an aim to be Denmark's most responsible furniture manufacturer, the company is about to bring its entire collection under the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

Popular furniture by FDB Møbler
FDB Møbler started mass-producing furniture in the 1940s, revolutionizing the entire Danish furniture industry. Today, FDB Møbler is part of the Coop Danmark cooperative and owned by 1.9 million Danish households.

FDB MØBLER IS A NAME familiar to most people in Denmark. Founded over 80 years ago as a subsidiary of FDB (Danish Consumers’ Co-operative Society), FDB Møbler is one of the cornerstones of Danish furniture design. Its classic creations are to be found in a great many homes, in much the same way as Artek’s items are so highly regarded in Finland.

The company is best known for the furniture designed by Børge Mogensen (1914–1972). One of the leading lights in Danish modernism, Mogensen designed for FDB Møbler a veritable cavalcade of furniture, such as classic spindle-back chairs, which could be mass-produced quickly, cheaply, and with high quality.

J52B Chair in black
FDB Møbler’s selection consists of Danish design classics as well as new designs that respect the old DNA. One of the most iconic pieces designed by Mogensen is the J52B chair.

Mogensen was also the head of the FDB design studio until 1950, and he was followed in the position by Poul M. Volther, Ejvind A. Johansson, and Jørgen Bækmark, all of whom also designed numerous furniture lines. The power of industrialized production, combined with the skills of the country’s foremost designers, gradually revolutionized the entire Danish furniture industry to make Danish modernism an international phenomenon.

After the mid-century heyday, FDB gradually gave up its furniture business in 1980. However, more than 30 years later, the cooperative’s furniture-making tradition was revived with the relaunch of FDB Møbler 2013.

As if by chance, shortly after the relaunch, hundreds of FDB Møbler’s original drawings were unexpectedly discovered in the cellar of the cooperative. Many of the classic designs soon ended up in production with great success.

J46 chair is a design classic by Poul M. Volther from 1956.
The lightweight J46 chair will suit dining tables of various different styles, and it also makes a characterful centerpiece in other surroundings, like a workstation for example.

Furniture should serve people

“When FDB Møbler started in 1942, it was not an actual design brand. It was founded simply to industrialize the production of quality furniture and make them for a fair price to ordinary Danish people. We were at that time and still owned collectively by Danish households”, explains FDB Møbler CEO Ole Kiel.

“Furniture should serve people,” Børge Mogensen once said – and for FDB Møbler that remains the guiding principle. In practice, this means above all timeless esthetics and construction that will last for years. The average life of the company’s items of furniture is around three decades, and valued items may well be handed down from one generation to the next.

CEO Ole Kiel led FDB Møbler’s relaunch in 2013 after the brand had been off the market for over 30 years.

In line with the principles of the consumer cooperative FDB, the company strives to create quality products that are as affordable as possible. The range includes not only twentieth-century classics but also furniture, lighting, tableware, and utensils by contemporary designers. Creating products that are made to last for decades also poses challenges of its own: in order for an item to retain its appeal in the 2050s and even beyond, the designer must have the skill to look past the passing fads of today.

Creating products that are made to last for decades poses challenges of its own: in order for an item to retain its appeal in the 2050s and even beyond, the designer must have the skill to look past the passing fads of today.

“When choosing new products to our selection, we are looking at two things: is there a demand in the market, and will the product fit into our collection. We only work with designers who actually like our style and want to be a part of our family. We have a very close corporation with our designers”, Kiel says.

FDB Møbler will soon be launching both new and old designs. In addition to bookshelves and benches designed by Børge Mogensen, on the way are several different lighting fixtures by designers including Rikke Frost and Laura Bilde. As the company seeks to grow beyond its small homeland, the focus is firmly on the international design market.

FDB Møbler's J27C counter stool
J27C counter stool is part of a seating collection designed in 1949 by legendary Danish designer Børge Mogensen.
FDB Møbler's J27 stool
The multifunctional J27 stool can serve as an extra seat by the dining table or be used in various environments, from offices to bedrooms and children’s rooms, individually or in groups.

Stories for future generations

For FDB Møbler, being a responsible company means not only that every item is long-lasting, but also that they are manufactured as responsibly as possible, from the choice of materials to manufacturing and testing. Every new product is tested at the Danish Technological Institute.

“We aim to be Denmark’s most responsible furniture company – that is the foundation and starting point for everything we do. Everything we produce in wood is FSC certified, just as all our textiles bear the Oeko-Tex label. Our next goal is to see that all FDB Møbler products, where it is possible, will bear the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. We think it is the most ambitious environmental labeling for products”, Kiel explains.

FDB Møbler's J177 Havneholmen bench
Designed by Emil Holck Reimert, the J177 Havneholmen bench is a sturdy solid wood bench with influences from the past and present of Danish design.
FDB Møbler uses only eco-certified wood and textiles in its products.

FDB Møbler aims to obtain the Nordic Ecolabel for all its furniture by 2025. Among the products that have already been granted the label are the chair collections J46, J52B, and J27.

Calculating the carbon footprint of a company and its products is also part of the company’s sustainability program.

“We devote every working day to reducing our CO2 impact. We continually explore the best ways to achieve that, and we manufacture in only the most responsible facilities. The footprint we want to leave is in the form of stories – stories from people who have felt at home with our furniture. We consider it our responsibility to help ensure that even our grandchildren’s children get to hear these stories.”


Campaign:

Finnish Design Shop offers a selection of FDB Møbler's chairs, stools and benches that have been granted the Nordic Swan Ecolabel at a 25% discount! The campaign is valid from 1 August through 31 August 2022.


See also:

All products by FDB Møbler >

Text: Nora Uotila Images: FDB Møbler

Previous story
Next story