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The J39 Chair, designed in 1947, is the Mogensen’s most famous chair. Made of solid wood and hand-woven paper cord seat, the J39 Chair earned it the nickname ‘The People’s Chair’ for its simplicity and versatility.
In 1939, FDB hired the 28 year old architect Børge Mogensen as their chief architect for their visionary furniture programme. The vision was to create high quality functional furniture with a reasonable price tag that could make the ideas of simple modernism popular among the people. Mogensen decided that the furniture should all be based on established cabinet-maker’s principles found in traditional furniture types from around the world, while at the same time being adapted for ease of local production without compromising on quality.
Børge Mogensen then invited his friend Hans J. Wegner to participate in this venture, which came to lay the basic foundation for the development of the concept “Danish Modern” in the 1950’s. A few pieces from the programme became so accomplished that they have been in continuous production ever since their launch in the 1940’s. Fredericia’s special relationship with Børge Mogensen have ensured that these models will always be a part of Fredericia’s ‘The People’s Collection’.
Both Mogensen and Wegner’s furniture for “The People’s Collection” was based on an evolutionary design approach. Wegner’s rocker was inspired by traditional Windsor furniture, whereas Mogensen’s J39 was an evolution of methodology taken from Mediterranean region folk furniture. The C18 table was inspired by the functional style of the American Shaker culture. The durable and sturdy, yet refined quality of “The People’s Collection” makes the furniture suitable for both private and public use. And to this day, both new and vintage versions of the furniture can be seen in public institutions, universities, cafés, restaurants and private homes in Denmark as well as throughout the world.
Dimensions W48 x D43 x H77 cm – Seat height 46 cm
Frame solid beech, oak or walnut
black painted oak
clear lacquered oak
white oiled oak
clear lacquered walnut
black painted oak
white painted oak
Børge Mogensen’s (1914-1972) creative process produced long-lasting pieces with humans at the center. He became a highly influential post-war designer and a leading representative of Danish Modern.
Mogensen’s democratic design included simple and functional wooden furniture for both private and public spaces, with calm aesthetics and strong construction from quality materials. He believed in visual clarity and minimal decoration or experimentation, as seen in his classic Hunting Table and Deck Chair Set.
As a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Mogensen was inspired by Kaare Klint’s use of human proportions with visual calm and functionalism. Mogensen, however, also placed emphasis on informal interior décor and the use of modern production facilities.
Mogensen completed his cabinetmaker training in 1934, followed by studies in furniture design. During this period he worked in the studios of Klint and Mogens Koch until he was hired as chief designer for the Danish furniture cooperative FDB in 1942, where he pioneered democratic design.
He began his own design studio in 1950, making modern, useful furniture produced from local, Nordic materials. His inspiration, however came from many cultures and styles, including international modernism, ethnic arts, Japanese carvings, and historic works.
Mogensen also taught furniture design and participated in exhibitions and competitions, such as the 1948, international competition for Low-Cost Furniture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which he entered together with his friend Hans J. Wegner.
He was awarded the Eckersberg Medal in 1950 and won the Danish Furniture Prize in 1971. In 1972 he was awarded the C.F. Hansen Medal and appointed Honorary Royal Designer for Industry at the Royal Society of Arts in London.