On 24 October 1872, the 25-year-old carpenter Fritz Hansen opened his first workshop in Copenhagen: starting from a small town in southern Denmark, he transformed the company into a much sought-after brand with a global horizon, thanks also to his encounters with great designers, Arne Jacobsen above all. Hansen created innovative, proto-modernist models, such as the first chair with a multi-layer backrest, paving the way for the development of products in steam bentwood (he obtained the exclusive for Scandinavia from Thonet) and other experiments. During the twenties and thirties the company had already begun working with well-known architects such as Børge Mogensen and Hans J. Wegner, but the decisive meeting was with Arne Jacobsen who in 1932 was designing ‘Bellevue’, a new area on the north coast of Denmark, designing houses, hotels and a theatre. Hansen built the Bellevue Theatre‘s seats, which formed rows similar to the waves of the sea, as well as the seating in the adjoining restaurant. The collaboration with a producer like Hansen enabled Jacobsen to realise places thought out down to the smallest detail. The seal would come in 1960 with the creation of the ‘SAS Hotel’ in Copenhagen (now Radisson Collection), a great icon of Gesamtkunstwerk, or total design. The hotel was finally restored in 2018, but room 606 remained intact, like a monument to Modernism: the way in which design and architecture are integrated is still striking today. Design pieces that are so well known, appreciated and imitated today such as Egg, Swan, Pot and the 3300 Series were all conceived for the SAS. Jacobsen succeeded in demonstrating that it was possible to create organic forms, made for the human body, designed for the linear spaces of modern architecture: these revolutionary pieces entered people’s homes and improved their lives. On the occasion of Fritz Hansen’s anniversary, a celebratory collection reissues several archive models including Jacobsen’s chairs, with a special Kvadrat fabric upholstery designed by Raf Simons, and the PK61 table by Poul Kjærholm, a hero of Scandinavian style.
Architecture, Arts, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Design, Furniture, Scandinavia, Tourism