Peter Kjelgaard Jensen, Head of Modern Design at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.
James Zemaitis, Curator and Director of Museum Relations, R & Company.
Vance Trimble, collector, expert, and interior designer.
In the mid-century years, Danish Modern had found its way into millions of homes across the western world, shaping the lifestyle of well-educated Danish middle class, and the taste of Americans and British away from antiques and into the modern. Overnight, Danish Modern became the blockbuster of the furniture industry, and the preference of the young generation during the postwar years.
In its heyday, it was perceived as the ultimate combination of fine craftsmanship; honest approach to materials; simplicity; harmonious integration of form and structure; and functional, ‘good,’ democratic design. Danish modern was placed on the world's stage and received enormous coverage in local and international exhibitions and fairs *from Copenhagen to Milan, to London, to the US. It was constantly featured on the covers of the finest magazines; and it was the new hot thing for all babyboomers parents who wanted to live stylish.
Danish modern was different than anything produced at this time. It was more crafted than the colorful organic American furniture of the 50s; was more affordable than the industrial French design; and more neutral than the sculptural expressive Italian furniture of this period. It was a great fit for every household. For all of these, Danish Modern was desired by the millions.
In the 70s, together with the entire mid-century design culture, its allure had faded and international interest declined, pushing Danish Modern away from the mainstream and into the attics. The simplicity and craftsmanship, the harmony associated with it and its social democratic values were no longer attractive in the new and bold homes of the 70s. Danish Modern disappeared for decades, leading closely to the turn of the millennium.
It has made a remarkable comeback since 2000, desired by collectors, utilized by architects creating curated and chic interiors. It began to dominate the finest art fairs, museum exhibitions, and constantly explored in scholarship, publications, generating endless headlines in the collectible design world. A video documenting this evening will air in two weeks.
Photography: Costas Picadas