Arne Emil Jacobsen Born February 11, 1902 – passed 24 March 1971.
Arne Emil Jacobsen, more commonly known as Arne Jacobsen, is one of the most renowned furniture designers which sprung from worldwide success on his simple yet effective ‘Egg Chair’ design. Arne Jacobsen's work has been acknowledged with countless awards for his flawless yet revolutionary designer furniture pieces. The famous Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair and Arne Jacobsen Swan Loveseat Sofa are classical masterpieces that are still embraced in homes of the Modern Furniture movement today.
Charles Eames & Ray Eames Born 1907 - passed 1978, Born 1912 - passed 1988 consecutively.
Charles and Ray Eames were major contributors to modern architecture and furniture design in the twentieth century.
The Charles and Ray Eames office (1943–1988) included, in its staff, a number of remarkable furniture designers who produced some of the most renowned modern furniture pieces including the molded-plywood DCW (Dining Chair Wood) and DCM (Dining Chair Metal with a plywood seat) (1945), Eames Lounge Chair (1956), the Eames Chaise (1968) and the many Eames office furniture designs. Charles Eames died of a heart attack on August 21, 1978 and his wife, Ray died exactly 10 years later. At the time of Charles' death they were working on what became their last production, the Eames Sofa, which went into production in 1984.
From the beginning, the Eames furniture has usually been listed under Charles Eames' name but it has become clear that Ray was deeply involved in the devolpment and production of all items and should be considered an equal partner.
Eero Aarnio Born July 21, 1932.
Aarnio is a Finnish interior designer well known for his innovative furniture designs in the 1960s. His plastic and fibreglass chairs are among his most popular. Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, and he started his own office in 1962. The following year he introduced his famous Fibreglass Ball Chair which still attracts interest today. Aarnio's designs were an important aspect of 1960s popular culture and the Eero Aarnio Ball Chairs were often featured in science-fiction films such as 'Men in Black I & II' starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Aarnio Eerino continues to create new designs for children’s toys and furniture.
Florence Knoll Bassett Born May 24, 1917.
Florence Knoll is an American architect and furniture designer who studied under Mies van der Rohe and Eliel Saarinen. Knoll has a vast background of study including a bachelor's degree in architecture and experience in working with leaders of the Bauhaus movement, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Wallace K. Harrison.
In 1946, she married her husband Hans Knoll after which they formed Knoll Associates. As the pioneer of the Knoll Planning Unit, she revolutionized interior space planning. Her belief in "total design" – embracing architecture, manufacturing, interior design, textiles, graphics, advertising and presentation – and her application of design principles in solving space problems were radical movements away from the standard 1950's practice, but were quickly adopted and remain widely used today.
Her most famous designer furniture piece is the Florence Knoll Sofa which is known for its elegant use of space.
Knoll retired as Knoll president in 1960, but remained with the company as the director of design until 1965 when she retired completely.
In 2002, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts for her extraordinary contribution to architecture and design.
George Nelson Born 1908 - passed 1986.
George Nelson was a dedicated and influential furniture designer of American modernism. Through his architectural study background and interest in furniture, Nelson first became noticed from an Architectural Forum published in 1944 which caught the attention of D.J DePree; head of the furniture company Herman Miller. Shortly after, George Nelson assumed the position of design director at Herman Miller until 1972 where he became strongly influential and was regarded a pioneer in American Modern design. From 1946 onwards, Nelson also ran his own design office creating numerous products that are now regarded as icons of mid-century modernism. Some of George Nelson's most well recognised furniture pieces are the George Nelson Coconut Chair and George Nelson Marshmallow Sofa.
Grant Featherston Born 1922 - passed 1995.
An industrial Australian designer practicing in Melbourne, Featherston was born in Geelong and began his career as a designer in glass and lighting without formal training.After service in the 1939-45 war, he began to develop a range of furniture that has become his signature products including the Relaxation range (1947-49) and the famous Contour Chairs (1951-55 but re-released in the 1990s). This furniture was initially made by Grant Featherston but later licensed to other manufacturers.
Featherston then formed a design partnership with wife Mary in 1966 and together they were the winners of many Good Design Awards. Internationally, his best-known work is the famed Talking Chair where, when sat upon, these chairs delivered a tape-recorded message on Australian topics in French and English.
Grant Featherston was a pioneer of industrial design in Australia and helped form the Society of Designers for Industry (now known as the Design Institute of Australia) in Melbourne in 1948. Curator Terence Lane organised Grant Featherson’s retrospective exhibition 'Featherston Chairs’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1988.
Hans J. Wegner Born April 2, 1914 – passed 26 January 2007.
Hans Wegners love of natural materials and deep understanding for furniture to be functional as well as beautiful, made the mid-century Danish design popular on an international scale. His career began as a cabinet maker in 1931. Wegner then continued to receive an architectural degree in 1938 form the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts where he worked as a designer in Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller’s architectural office. He established his own office in 1943.
Hans Wegner is the most prolific Danish furniture designer to date and has more than 500 popular chair designs in his portfolio. Wegner’s real genius came with his collaboration with master cabinet maker Johannes Hansen where they presented their work at the Cabinetmaker’s show every year from 1941–1966.
Wegner made an international breakthrough in 1949 when he designed the Round chair. This was his greatest success and was named “the world’s most beautiful chair” by the American Magazine Interiors. The Hans Wegner Shell Chair is another favourite with its unique 3 legged design and perfect seating position.
From there his career flourished and Wegner’s designs went on to win worldwide recognition through the 1950’s and 1960’s. His furniture, in particular his chairs, are to be found in the permanent collections of the world’s most prestigious museums.
Henrik Thor-Larsen Born 1932.
Industrial designer and inventor, Thor-Larsen underwent a 4-year apprenticeship which was concluded with a qualifying piece of work for membership of a guild as a journeyman. He got maximum marks. After a few years' practice in Denmark, he worked in Norway and Switzerland in 1956.
Thor-Larsens history began with designing racing cars. He built a very well-received sports and racing car in plastic on a Porsche chassis in Stockholm and went on to be discovered by Saab where he was asked to design the seats for the company's new product, the slightly more sporty model Sonett.
After some time, his interest turned increasingly to industrial design and from 1968 he first exhibited the Ovalia Egg Chair at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair. It was an immediate success. The chair was sold up to 1978 and was in demand throughout the world. The Ovalia Egg Chair was featured in Men in Black I & II with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and still remains popular today.
Isamu Noguchi Born November 17, 1904 – passed December 30, 1988.
Isamu Noguchi was a prominent Japanese American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career began in the 1920s. His successful career spanned six decades where his most popular furniture design is the Isamu Noguchi Coffee Table designed in 1944. Among his furniture work, his collaboration with George Nelson and Charles Eames helped him to produce a catalogue of what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture.
Josef Hoffmann Born December 15, 1870 — passed 7 May, 1956.
Josef Hoffmann was a gifted and prolific designer of architecture, furniture, utensils, clothing, bookbindings, posters, textiles, and wallpaper. He was convinced of the social and spiritual benefits of harmonious living environments designed by a single creative mind.
Through his career, Hoffmann was greatly influenced by a number of talented artists whom were dedicated to elevating the status of craft to that of fine art. Hoffmann incorporated their teachings into the curriculum at the School for Arts and Crafts, where he was appointed professor at the age of twenty-nine.
Around the 1900 Hoffmann developed his geometrically refined signature style which was both elegant and perfectly unified. This is the unique design which made the Josef Hoffmann Kubus Sofa a famous classic today.
His aptitude for creating beautiful and timeless forms ensured a solid career in both Europe and the United States, that lasted decades.
Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray Born August 9, 1878 – passed October 31. 1976.
Gray's exquisite work was recognised in the 20th century. Gray was an educated and talented painter/drawer however soon after 1905 she came across a small lacquer shop where she became an apprentice. This area took her passion for quite some time and is where her furniture career began. Gray designed furniture, decorated and furnished appartments as well as ran a successful shop. Finally, at the age of 35, she exhibited her work for the first time and found it to be a great success. Gray is famously known for her Eileen Gray Side Table, designed in 1927, which was featured in her own self designed and furnished home ‘Tempe à Pailla’.
Le Corbusier Born 1887 - passed 1965.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier is renown as the king of modern architecture and design. His career spanned an incredible five decades and included everything from erecting buildings in almost every continent as well as painting, sculpture, writing and even urban planning. Le Corbusier’s architecture and furniture designs have set a standard for modernists everywhere and he is becoming a pioneer of International Style. Among his most famous furniture designs is the Le Corbusier LC5 Sofa Bed which is superb in both quality and comfort. Le Corbusier’s work is simple and modern and his designs will remain contemporary in years to come.
Paul M. Volther Born 1923 - passed 2001.
Poul Volther belonged to a generation of architects with solid roots in the very best of craft. As an exponent to functionalism he was against fads and aesthetic smartness and he loved the simple manufacture of fine materials. Volther was a trained cabinet-maker and later he graduated from The School of Arts and Crafts.
As a teacher at The Danish School of Art & Design he has influenced hundreds of young designers' sense of craft quality. The Corona chair is without comparison his most famous design.