Finn Juhl was a Danish architect and designer who was a pioneer in the field of Danish Modern design. He is considered one of the most important figures in Danish design and his work had a significant influence on Mid-Century Modern design in general. His most famous designs include the Poet Sofa and the Pelican Chair.
Juhl was born in 1912 in Copenhagen, Denmark and studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation, he began working for architect Vilhelm Lauritzen. He opened his own architectural practice in 1945 and began experimenting with furniture design. His breakout success came in 1949 with the introduction of his Poet Sofa at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition. The sofa was notable for its soft, organic shapes and lush upholstery, which was a departure from the more austere designs that were popular at the time.
Juhl continued to experiment with furniture design throughout his career and introduced several other iconic pieces, including the Pelican Chair (1952), the').62 Sideboard (1955), and the Baker sofa (1959). He also designed several homes, libraries, and museums, including the Denmark’s Museum of Art & Design (1971) and the Netherlands’ Groninger Museum (1994).
Juhl died in 1989 but his legacy lives on through his iconic designs which are still in production today by companies like Fritz Hansen, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Onecollection, and Gubi.
Finn Juhl was a true visionary who helped shape mid-century modern design. His organic, soft forms were a stark contrast to the more austere designs that were popular at the time but have since become icons of Danish Modern design. If you’re a fan of mid-century modern design, then chances are you’ve already been touched by Juhl’s work.
The Famous Furniture Designs of Finn Juhl
The Poet Sofa
One of Juhl's most iconic designs is the Poet Sofa, which he designed in 1939. The sofa is notable for its organic shape, which is achieved through its high back and rounded arms. The sofa is often referred to as "a daybed for two," and it's easy to see why; it looks like it would be the perfect spot to curl up with a good book or take a nap. The Poet Sofa has been featured in many museums, including New York's Museum of Modern Art, and it's considered one of the most important pieces of Danish furniture design.
The Pelican Chair is yet another iconic design by Finn Juhl. It was created in 1955 and features a trapezoidal shape with flared arms and legs. The chair is meant to be used as an occasional chair or as part of a larger seating arrangement. Its unique shape makes it one of Juhl's most recognizable designs.
The Chieftain Chair
Juhl designed the Chieftain Chair in 1949, and it was originally created for the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Association. The chair gets its name from its resemblance to a traditional Scottish hunting chair, but Juhl put his own spin on it by adding curved lines and removing any superfluous details. The Chieftain Chair is considered one of Juhl's most influential designs, and it has been reproduced by many different companies over the years.
The Finn Juhl sideboard is a true icon of Danish mid-century modern design. First designed by Finn Juhl in 1945, this beautifully sculptural piece combines clean, organic lines with a warm, inviting wood veneer. The Finn Juhl sideboard is as much a work of art as it is a functional piece of furniture, and it remains one of the most popular pieces from the Juhl catalogue to this day.
Finn Juhl was one of the leading figures of mid-century modern design. His unique approach to furniture design emphasized organic forms and natural materials, and his designs are just as popular today as they were when they were originally created. If you're a fan of mid-century modern design, then you owe it to yourself to check out the work of Finn Juhl.