Modern Danish furniture design have long been known and celebrated for its sleek, minimalistic and clean-cut appearance. But what happens when designers channel a more elemental inspiration? Two companies have truly succeeded in defining such an organic twist.
Two Soft Chairs | by Lassen
Danish design icon by Lassen, best known for their 1962 Kubus candleholder, has created two chairs that significantly incorporate biological creativeness in their designs. First off, the My Own Chair designed back in 1938 is remarkable for its striking rounded shape and a headrest that slightly makes you think of an animal’s antlers or horns.
This was originally designed for the Cabinetmakers Guild Exhibition in Copenhagen, but the chair’s unique two-part shape was considered too progressive at the time to be put into production. This meant that only one chair was ever made in 1938. ‘Flemming’s chair’ or ‘My Own Chair’ subsequently stayed within the architect’s private residence for the rest of his life.
But now – 80 years later – by Lassen has launched an exact recreation of this famous chair, staying completely true to the design principles of the original. ‘My Own Chair’ still perfectly highlights Flemming Lassen’s love of rounded shapes and precise detailing. The chair has often been described as a natural blend of Nordic humanism and international modernism.
“The organic shape of My Own Chair’s large back support creates a silhouette that invites you to blend into it as it envelopes you and encourages you to relax. It’s all about comfort and finding a little piece of tranquillity in our busy lives,” says Nadia Lassen, great granddaughter of Mogens Lassen and former CEO and Co-owner of by Lassen.
My Own Chair – Photo: by Lassen
The Tired Man – or originally “Den Trætte Mand” in Danish – is a renowned design icon you cannot miss when talking about by Lassen and their chairs. This overstuffed easy chair was designed in 1935 and is characterized by its curvy, wild bear-like shape and voluminous armrests.
Flemming Lassen once famously said, that sitting in this chair should make you feel “as warm and safe as a polar bear cub in the arms of its mother in the middle of the ice cap.” Very apt and precise words from the architect behind this classic piece of furniture, and with its welcoming exterior and calming embrace, the Tired Man armchair is considered by many as the ultimate chair to sink into and relax.
The interest in Flemming Lassen’s unique furniture was underlined at a historic auction held at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in September 2014, where this chair’s price massively exceeded the estimate, coming in at no less than 1.42 million Danish kroner (approx. €190.000), setting the record as Denmark’s most expensive chair ever sold at auction.
The Tired Man – Photo: by Lassen
Strong Wooden Passion | THORS-DESIGN
Another company that integrates organic design in a rather different way is THORS-DESIGN with a major focus on recycling and sustainability. Since 2002, the founder of THORS-DESIGN, Carsten Thor has sculpted unique furniture from an incredibly sturdy African wood called azobé. All of Thor’s wooden furniture is handcrafted using more than 100-year-old azobé bought from closed Danish ferry slips.
They undoubtedly care a lot about the environment at THORS-DESIGN, which is one of the main reasons that they chose to use an ultra-sustainable type of wood that contains only natural oils as their fundamental material. Another principal theme in Thor’s design process is the immersive sense of how the wood is evolving with all its cracks and crevices – even after the furniture is made.
Because of this material’s impressive strength, these pieces are close to imperishable with a life cycle almost as long as the initial tree’s. This is very practical as the finished products are maintenance-free and can be used outside for years with no problems.
”Recycling maritime patinated bulwark and having a profound respect for this distinctive wood are a fundamental idea behind all our furniture. This wood is upcycled with attentive care into a simple, organic and stylistically pure Nordic design, and the azobé brings a raw and worn look to give the furniture heart and soul: This is also why no two pieces are identical,” says Thor.
Over the years, THORS-DESIGN bought several small Danish harbours, such as Kalundborg, Gedser, Rødby and Knudshoved ferry slip. Today, Carsten Thor is primarily responsible for design, product development and production. In 2008, THORS-DESIGN moved their HQ to the old dairy in Timring, just outside Herning. This building was established in 1891 and its raw exterior fits just perfectly with the furniture showcased inside.