Børge Mogensen

This week's featured designer was one of the most influential designers in shaping Danish Modern design

Børge Mogensen (b. April 13th 1914 - d. October 5th 1972) was one of the pioneers that created the foundation for the Danish Design as a culture of furniture design. His life-long ambition was to create durable and useful furniture that would enrich people’s everyday lives, and he designed functional furniture for all parts of the home and society.

Mogensen was a trained cabinet-maker and furniture designer at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts before entering the school of furniture design at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Kaare Klint and graduated in 1941.

In 1948 Mogensen participated in MoMA’s international furniture competition ”low-cost furniture” together with his friend Hans J Wegner. Back home in Denmark, inspired by the exhibition, he experimented with plywood shells and fused the international modernist movement with his own design identity. Mogensen also found inspiration in ethnic arts & crafts, lithography and Japanese wooden carvings.

Restrained aesthetic
Mogensen’s ideal was to create furniture with a restrained aesthetic. He believed that furniture should create a sense of tranquillity and have a modest appearance that encourages people to live their lives unpretentiously.

He was acclaimed for his masterful sense of materials and proportions, and for his ability to create beautiful and distinctive furniture by emphasising simple horizontal and vertical lines and surfaces – all in an attempt to create aesthetic clear designs that were easy to produce.

Throughout his life Mogensen was one of the boldest voices in the critical debate on furniture design. He often criticised his peers for surrendering their artistic authenticity in favour of short-sighted fashions, but he always welcomed innovations that he found offered real progression. Mogensen preferred to work in refined, yet rustic, natural materials such as solid oak, natural leather, wool fabrics, and brass mountings.

Fredericia Furniture
In 1950, Mogensen opened a private design office, and shortly after, in 1952 he began collaborating with young interior architect and entrepreneur, Andreas Graversen, who would later become owner of Fredericia Furniture.

To this day, Fredericia is the primary producer of Børge Mogensen’s furniture. Graversen and Mogensen’s high demands for quality, functionality and sense of material are still very much alive in our approach when developing new furniture today.

Mogensen received the The Eckersberg Medal 1950, as well as the highest architectural honours in Denmark, the C.F. Hansen medal, in 1972. In 1971 he and Andreas Graversen jointly received the Danish Furniture Prize for their contribution to the Danish furniture industry, and in 1972 Mogensen was appointed Honoury Royal Designer for Industry at the Royal Society of Arts in London. Examples of Mogensen’s designs can be seen in leading design museums around the world.


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