Arne Emil Jacobsen, Hon. FAIA (11 February 1902 – 24 March 1971)
Arne Jacobsen was a Danish architect and designer. He is remembered for his contribution to architectural Functionalism as well as for the worldwide success he enjoyed with simple but effective chair designs.
His way into product design came through his interest in Gesamtkunst (meaning the complete design of every aspect of a space including the furniture).
Most of his designs which later became famous in their own right were created for architectural projects. One of Arne Jacobsen’s most important buildings is the Royal SAS Hotel in Copenhagen (1956-60), for which he not only designed the seat furniture but also all the rest of the interior, including lighting, cutlery, and even such details as ashtrays. This one project would create several iconic pieces such as the Egg chair, Swan chair and Drop chair, which are all still in production today.
Most of his furniture designs were the result of a cooperation with the furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen with which he initiated a collaboration in 1934 while his lamps and light fixtures were developed with Louis Poulsen. In spite of his success with his chair at the Paris Exhibition in 1925, it was during the 1950s that his interest in furniture design peaked. A major source of inspiration stemmed from the bent plywood designs of Charles and Ray Eames. He was also influenced by the Italian design historian Ernesto Rogers, who had proclaimed that the design of every element was equally important “from the spoon to the city” which harmonized well with his own ideals.
Arne Jacobsen is noted for his sense of proportion. Indeed, he himself saw this as one of the main features of his work. In an interview he said; “The proportion is exactly what makes the beautiful ancient Egyptian temples and if we look at some of the most admired buildings of the Renaissance and Baroque, we notice that they were all well-proportioned. Here is the basic thing.”
Today, Arne Jacobsen is remembered primarily for his furniture designs. However, he believed he was first and foremost an architect.