The late Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s perhaps most celebrated design is the Egg, which is a lounge chair designed for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The Egg is part of a total design solution that Jacobsen made for the hotel in the late 1950s, where everything from the door handles and the cutlery to the entire building was designed by Jacobsen.
Jacobsen graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, in 1927, where he later worked as a professor from 1956 to 1965. In between, he designed a lot of famous buildings and furniture, including the Aarhus City Hall. In the beginning of his professional career, Jacobsen designed, among other things, basket chairs and traditional cabinetmaker’s furniture, but the reception of these designs were mixed.
It was in the 1950s and ‘60s that Jacobsen had his greatest success and enjoyed a golden era in regards to designing furniture. In this period, Jacobsen designed an array of stackable veneer chairs including the Series 7 chair and the Ant, which possibly are the most well known today.
In 1958, Jacobsen designed the Egg. It is said that Arne Jacobsen shaped the original basic silhouette for the chair with a piece of clay in his garage. Jacobsen decided that the chair should be moulded in a foam material – a production method that had never been used before. The shell was then upholstered with natural leather or fabric, and an aluminium foot was mounted. From 1973 onwards, the chair’s foot was made out of aluminium with a steel tube pillar.
The earliest models of the Egg came without seat pillows but with more padding in the seat, while later models also encompassed the option to tilt the chair. Later on, the shell was produced using glass fibre instead of foam material.
In 2008, the Egg celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, a limited edition of the chair was manufactured with only 999 chairs produced. The anniversary edition comprised both leather and suede, with the distinct contrast between the two materials especially making the chair stand out. The backside of the chair was chocolate brown suede, while the seat area was chocolate brown also, but in pure leather.
By far, the biggest part of Jacobsen’s furniture range was, and still is, produced by the Danish furniture brand Fritz Hansen, while his lamp designs were usually produced by the Danish lighting brand Louis Poulsen. In a few cases though, his designs were produced by other manufacturers. Besides furniture, Jacobsen also designed the fixture series Vola, door handles and a series of trays, as well as watches and textiles.
The futuristic shape of the Egg is still very popular today, with the chair being highly sought after by furniture lovers all over the world. In particular, early leather models often carry a high price tag. An accompanying footstool was also designed by Jacobsen, while both the chair and footstool are available in sixty colours today.