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Arne Emil Jacobsen

Arne Emil Jacobsen

Born on February 11, 1902 in Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen belongs to a working class family. Aiming for a fine education, Jacobsen was admitted to the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where from 1924 to 1927. This is where he studied under Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob, both leading architects and designers during that time. Jacobsen participated in the Paris Art Deco fair in 1925. The fair was called the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. He won a silver medal for a chair design. On that trip, he was struck by the pioneering aesthetic of Le Corbusier's L'Esprit Nouveau pavilion.

In 1929, in collaboration with Flemming Lassen, Jacobsen won a Danish Architect's Association competition for designing the "House of the Future" which was built full scale at the subsequent exhibition in Copenhagen's Forum. It was a spiral-shaped, flat-roofed house in glass and concrete, incorporating a private garage, a boathouse and a helicopter pad. Other striking features were windows that rolled down like car windows, a conveyor tube for the mail and a kitchen stocked with ready-made meals. A Dodge Cabriolet Coupé was parked in the garage, there was a Chris Craft in the boathouse and an Autogyro on the roof. Jacobsen immediately became recognised as an ultra-modern architect.

Most of his furniture designs were the result of a cooperation with the furniture manufacturer with which he initiated a collaboration in 1934 while his lamps and light fixtures were developed with Louis Poulsen. In spite of his success with his chair at the Paris Exhibition in 1925, it was during the 1950s that his interest in furniture design peaked.

Today, Arne Jacobsen is remembered primarily for his furniture designs. However, he believed he was first and foremost an architect. According to Scott Poole, a professor at Virginia Tech, Arne Jacobsen never used the word 'designer', notoriously disliking it.

In 1951, he created the Ant chair for an extension of the Novo pharmaceutical factory and, in 1955, came the Seven Series. Both matched modern needs perfectly, being light, compact and easily stackable. Two other successful chair designs, the Egg and the Swan, were created for the SAS Royal Hotel which he also designed in 1956. Other interior design is a line of faucets and accessories for bathroom and kitchen, created after he won a competition in 1961 for his design of the National Bank of Denmark. This classic design is still in production today by Danish company Vola.

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