Finn Juhl is considered the father of the concept “Danish Modern” or “Danish Design”. He played an important role in the time of unrest and upheaval within the development of Danish furniture design and put Denmark on the map of international design through his work.
From 1960 and until his death in 1989, Finn Juhl and Hanne Wilhelm Hansen were a couple. Hanne Wilhelm Hansen and her sister, Lone, were both 4th generation successors to the Wilhelm Hansen Music Publishers. In 1988 the sisters decided to sell the publishing house. After the sale was complete, they established a foundation – The Wilhelm Hansen Foundation. The charter specifies that the foundation supports performing arts within music, dance and theater. As Hanne Wilhelm Hansen put it so elegantly herself: “for five generations my family has profited from the artists. It is now time to give that money back to the artists”.
In 1988, Hanne Wilhelm Hansen contacted the founders of Onecollection (also known as House of Finn Juhl today), Ivan Hansen and Hans Henrik Sørensen. This kickstarted the collaboration to relaunch Finn Juhl’s iconic furniture. Hanne found the partnership to be so fruitful that she bestowed the exclusive rights of production for all of Finn Juhl’s pieces to Ivan and Hans Henrik. Without hesitation they accepted – and they would embark on the mission of their lives.
House of Finn Juhl relaunches Finn Juhl’s furniture, on respect to the legacy, but in a modern reality. The details must be as fine and pure as if it came from the original cabinetmakers’ workshop, but also includes durability. Products have to be so durable that they can be enjoyed by users today and by generations to come.
Today, House of Finn Juhl furniture is mainly manufactured in Denmark. The upholstered furniture such as the Poet Sofa and the Pelican Chair are entirely hand-sewn in the same Danish tradition as the old ones. However, when it comes to our wooden furniture, House of Finn Juhl have chosen to utilise modern technology, which goes hand-in-hand with excellent craftsmanship in order to make Juhl’s visions come true. The intricately shaped wooden frames in the Chieftain Chair for instance, are masterly crafted by skilled Japanese craftsmen in Yamagata.
Without this approach, it would not be possible to achieve the fantastic finish and delicate detail that was Finn Juhl’s trademark. Finn Juhl’s dilemma was that many of his furniture designs called for technical solutions, which were not invented yet. Since he did not want to change or devaluate the characteristic design, he rather accepted this fact. That is the reason why some of his models were only produced in very limited quantities, while others never even saw the light of day.
Several of Juhl’s iconic designs would never be produced because they would have been too delicate to use. Juhl himself was aware of this and famously said: ”One should not despair over the fact that some of the developments one has hoped for were never produced but only became a beginning. Perhaps they will be revived some day in the future if necessary or reasonable, when the time is ripe.” – Finn Juhl