Børge Mogensen, who would have turned 100 years old this year, is rightly remembered as one of the titans behind the mid-century ‘Danish Modern’ furniture design movement, alongside figures such as Jacobsen, Wegner and Kjærholm.
Mogensen studied under the architect, Kaare Klint (the Father of Danish design), at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen and drew on Klint’s approach to furniture design which was to see it from an almost scientific angle using clean, strong and simple lines coupled with an aspect of functionality. This philosophy is in plain sight when looking at Mogensen’s Spoke Back Sofa design from 1945, with its classic, spindle structure and reclining side. This concept has been copied the world over since but at the time, it certainly turned heads and launched him into the minds of the design cognoscenti.
His Hunting Chair design from 1950 indicated a more robust and masculine direction but was quite clearly a blueprint for his future-classic, Spanish Chair, which he began work on in 1958 after a family holiday to Andalucia. Whilst in this region of southern Spain, Mogensen took great interest in these very ornate chairs, rooted in ancient Islamic culture, which could be found all the way from Spain across to Northern India. He modernised his interpretation by removing the florid carvings in the frame but retained the broad, flat armrests which not only gave his chair an imposing and stately appearance but also served as a convenient surface on which to rest a glass or ashtray: Mogensen liked a cigar.
The Spanish Chair is formed of a solid oak frame and strong, butt leather seat and back slings. Butt leather is most commonly used for saddle making and the leather slings are wrapped around the oak frame then cleverly belted on the underside which allows you to tighten the slings as the hides soften and move over time, moulding to the users body shape. A truly generational piece of furniture which like all the classics gets better with age.
We will have an example of The Spanish Chair on display here at the Store in early September, so please drop by then and try out this mid-century gem.