Finn Juhl (30 January 1912 – 17 May 1989)
Finn Juhl was a Danish architect, interior and industrial designer. He is best known for his innovative furniture design and as the man who brought Danish design to America. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of “Danish Modern Design” in the 1940s and his works are still popular and in production today.
Juhl gave a soft edge to the lines of wooden modernist chairs, favouring organic shapes which often took the wood to the limits of what was possible. He generally used teak and other dark woods, unlike many of the other proponents of the Danish Modern movement who often used oak in their designs. He was influenced by the abstract sculptor Jean Arp, an influence which is seen already in his early Pelican chair but it remained a motif throughout his career.
One of his hallmarks was the floating back and seat which is seen in many of his chair designs, in contrast to the hard wood of the bearing elements. The full back and seat seem to hover on their supports, a pattern which started to emerge in his chairs from 1945.
Not only is Juhl amongst the key influencers of the 20th century, his work championing Danish Modern in America stands him apart as not only a great innovator but a spokesman for the Danish Modern movement. One of his most famous quotes was, “One cannot create happiness with beautiful objects, but one can spoil quite a lot of happiness with bad ones.”