Pelican Chair make more visible Finn Juhl’s fascination for surrealism than any other furniture. It was also the furthest ahead of its time off all his designs. When it was presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1940, it stood out with its unusual shape and sturdy legs.
Finn Juhl normally named his furniture numbers after the year in which they were designed, but over time the nickname "Pelican" stuck to the chair. Very few were manufactured and the chair was almost forgotten until we rediscovered and relaunched the chair in 2001.
The characteristic soft and organic shape is almost like a body holding a body. When you sit down, the chair practically gives you a friendly hug. Like many of Finn Juhl’s later designs, the chair offers several comfortable ways to sit.
The sculptural chair fits seamlessly into most modern interior styles and works particularly well with the Pelican Table and its close relative, the Poet Sofa from 1941.
The Pelican Chair is produced in two versions - with or without buttons. It is manufactured with a cushion and upholstered by hand in fabric or leather. The legs are available in oak, walnut and black painted.
Legs oak, walnut or black Dimensions H68 x L85 x P76 cm – Seat Height 37 cm
Pelican Chair without button
Pelican Chair with buttons
Moonlight sheepskin / oiled walnut
Off White sheepskin / oiled walnut
Gotland sheepskin / oiled walnut
Watercolour Himalaya / oiled oak
Watercolour Golden Syrup / oiled oak
Watercolour Soft Linen
Watercolour Pumpkin Spice
Watercolour Rose Quartz
Watercolour Dark Conifer
Watercolour Fresh Sage
Hallingdal 103 + Hallingdal 113
Watercolour Cast Iron
Hallingdal 227 + Hallingdal 376
Hallingdal 764 + Hallingdal 110
Hallingdal 457 + Hallingdal 100
Hallingdal 980 + Hallingdal 960
Materials oak or walnut Dimensions Ø63 x H45 cm
Pelican Table – Oak
Pelican Table – Walnut
As a teenager, Finn Juhl (1912-1989) wanted to become an art historian, having a passion for the fine arts since childhood. His father stopped him and Finn Juhl started architectural studies. Later, when his fame as a designer of furniture acquired, he speaks of himself as an autodidact, in reference to this upset vocation that forced him to walk intellectually on a lonely way. His style owes much to this singular trajectory, with its non academic interpretation of art visible in his work. Finn Juhl started his studies in 1930, a key period which saw the birth of modern design and furniture.
His modern offices in central Copenhagen was greeting his visitors with a huge Japanese fish in paper, symbol of imagination. Rather than thinking in terms of practical construction, Finn Juhl had the mind-set of a sculptor, when he shaped a piece of furniture. In the 1940s and 1950s, this way of working had never been seen before. His ambition was to design furniture with movement and life.
Juhl took pride in making both the structurally supportive elements of the furniture and the seated person look as though they are floating. In some of his chairs, the backrest and the seat are almost invisibly joined, as if they were clouds floating through the room.
In creating his furniture, Finn Juhl worked with two elements: The carrying element, and the carried. He eventually became known for his special ability to separate the bearing parts from the borne. This is one of many examples of how he broke free from conventional working methods and found his inspiration in art.