The excellent furniture designer Børge Mogensen was born in 1914 in the Danish city of Aalborg. The city is now also known by the name Ålborg. His design will continue to be sought after by furniture enthusiasts and collectors around the world. Although many of his most famous furniture was created more than 60 years ago, the interest in his design has remained the same. Mogensen's design appeals to many different generations, as well as cultures.
While a student at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Copenhagen, he was taught by none other than the well-known professor Kaare Klint. Børge made a very good impression on the professor. After he finished his studies in architecture and design, he became Klint's assistant teacher. At that time he had begun studies at the Furniture School at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
After the time with Klint, Mogensen developed a deep commitment to produce classic, simple but very functional furniture. He also became interested in research on people and trends. The aim was to develop everyday objects that adapted themselves according to specific uses. He continued Klint's innovative studies in how the size and proportion should influence the object's design. Mogensen cooperates with Grethe Meyer in 1954, to create a project Boligens Byggeskabe. The project introduced the idea of building shelves and storage devices as part of a room, rather than to buy and place in a space.
The collaboration with FDB
The breakthrough came in 1942 when he was awarded the title of president of Fællesforeningen for Danmarks Brugsforeninger (Joint association of Denmark's consumer cooperatives), also abbreviated as FDB. FDB is Denmark's largest consumer Co-operative business. Some of his greatest classics were created through the cooperation with the Danish co-operative chain, which in the postwar period supplied the Danes with quality furniture at reasonable prices. At the time the act was seen as somewhat of a revolution, but thanks to Børge Mogensen's enduring quality and lasting designs, his furniture can even today be found in many Danish homes.
Børge Mogensen was an idealist who would not have been quite happy to hear, that his design is described as exclusive. He believed that good furniture should not be reserved for the few lucky ones, but something everyone should have the right to enjoy. His goal was to make simple but practical furniture available for everyone. The main features of his design was both appearance and functionality. He disliked when colleagues gave way to fashion trends, neglected functionality or made use of unnecessarily expensive materials. Wood of various kinds, was the favourite material and was used in almost all of his works.
The inspiration for the timeless classics
Today the name Børge Mogensen is synonymous with functional interior design classics, and a timeless simplicity that characterizes his designs. He was one of a number of important furniture designers who made the concept "Danish design" known throughout the world and established wide international respect for Danish furniture design. This has resulted in his simple and functional design has generated a global demand that has persisted for over half a century.
As a furniture designer and carpenter, he was an exceptionally productive craftsman who produced thousands of furniture. He found inspiration and came up with new ideas during all times of the day, even in the most random situations. Many of them are pieced together or have been drawn on matchboxes, napkins, scraps of paper and other materials that happened to be at hand.
Inspired by British and American Style
Børge Mogensen got much of his inspiration from English furniture and distinctive American furniture in shaker style. These had many traditional characteristics, that Børge simplified and made more stylish without compromising their functional character. Simplicity and naturalness also characterize his choice of materials. He was reluctant to make use of steel in his furniture and preferred to work with light, Scandinavian woods such as: beech, oak, ash and birch.
Tested furniture in the living room
Børge felt that the best trial a piece of furniture could be exposed to, was to first have it in one's own living room, and then use it. He regarded his home as a laboratory. The goal was to create simple but long-lasting furniture to use and to live with. One of the most famous of Børge's numerous and varied designs is couch 2213, which initially was made for his private house in Gentofte in the northern part of Copenhagen. Today, it still stands in the living room between the two tables that highlighted the dimensions of the sofa. Other important elements of Børge's work is "The Spokeback Sofa" which with its lightness and simple, open design differs from most sofas from that time, and "Spanish chair" from 1959, a low, sturdy armchair.
Some of his well-known furniture
Børge Mogensen created some of the most iconic furniture in modern Danish furniture design. To these belong, among other things:
- Øresund series
- Spanish Chair
- Søborg chair
- J64 armchair
- 2213 sofa
- 2212 sofa
- C18 dining table
Mogensen and Fredericia Furniture A/S
Most of Børge Mogensen furniture is manufactured and marketed by Fredericia Furniture A / S – a partnership that has lasted nearly 60 years. The alliance between the designer Børge Mogensen and manufacturer Andreas Graversen was started in 1952, but got going for real in 1955 when Graversen took over Fredericia Furniture A / S. This heralded the start of a lot more than just professional collaboration. Over the years they formed a strong, but temperamental friendship based on their common desire to create simple, quality furniture with a timeless aesthetic value. In 1971 was Mogensen and Graversen Furniture, awarded a prize for their significant contribution to Danish furniture design. Andreas Graversen and Fredericia Furniture A / S is inextricably linked with Børge Mogensen's furniture design.