Finn Juhl’s Pelican Chair gets artistic makeover


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The Pelican Chair was designed by Finn Juhl in 1940.


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The Pelican Chair was written off, when it came out, but has since become one of Finn Juhl's most iconic and best-selling designs.


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The name of the Asger Jorn motif used for the upholstery textile is Macbeth.


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The Pelican Chair was relaunched in 2001 by Danish furniture manufacturer Onecollection.


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Danish furniture manufacturer Onecollection has created an Artwork Edition of world-renowned Danish designer Finn Juhl’s Pelican chair in collaboration with London-based design company Domicileculture, to mark the chair’s 75th birthday.

The Pelican chair was originally launched in 1940, at which point there was nothing to suggest that it would later become one of Finn Juhl’s most iconic and best-selling designs. In fact, the Pelican was quickly written off – no one talked about it for 60 years – so it came as a big surprise when Onecollection relaunched it in 2001.

According to Onecollection’s director, Henrik Sørensen, there was no doubt that this was the chair he and his co-director Ivan Hansen wanted to revive when they got the chance.

“It was, in particular, the organic form of the Pelican that was unique and typically Finn Juhl. You could say that the chair consists of a “body” that fits into any environment. It is straight and angular: you can sit in it in many different positions and it is always very comfortable. Finn Juhl had no wish to dictate how his furniture must be used. His starting point was always the human form, which is why the Pelican is such a pleasure to sit in,” Henrik Sørensen explains.

This year, Onecollection and Domicileculture are celebrating the birthday of the Pelican chair by dressing it up in a textile with a design by renowned Danish painter Asger Jorn, who co-founded the COBRA avant-garde movement. It was Daniel Schou, creative director at Domicileculture, who was lucky enough to win the right to produce textiles with Asger Jorn’s designs.

“It is with a huge amount of respect that I embrace this project. I am trying to protect Jorn’s universe and artistic expression as carefully as possible. So contacting Onecollection about a possible collaboration seemed an obvious step. To me, Finn Juhl is synonymous with quality craftsmanship and unique aesthetics. He is the perfect match for Asger Jorn’s artwork,” Daniel Schou explains.

Schou chose Macbeth as the design for the Pelican chair – it is a characteristic Jorn drawing from around the same period as the Pelican was designed, with an easily recognisable Jorn motif. At the Jorn Museum in Silkeborg, Denmark, which issued the licence to use Jorn’s artwork on textile, staff appreciate that Finn Juhl’s furniture was the first choice for the new upholstery fabric.

“The result is amazing – it is a brilliant combination,” says museum director Jacob Thage.

The goal of DANISH™ is to promote Danish architecture and design in a broad perspective, and demonstrate all the potentials in these fields.

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