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8 April 2022
5 iconic sofas designed by the masters of Scandinavian design
Within the great family of Scandinavian design, the sofa takes on particular and recurring characteristics. It is not just Nordic minimalism but also other discreet traits almost always present in the interpretations that the masters of Nordic design have given of this furniture. The backrest rarely has cushions, the armrests tend to be high and one with the backrest. The bulk is contained and the structure helps to assume a straight and tidy back position. The feet are almost always visible and often made of wood, a recurring material in Scandinavian furniture production. The mood is austere and essential, devoted to functionality, but at the same time encoding a fascinating and timeless aesthetic that is easily conquered. Of course, in the recurrence of these characteristics, there is always room for a creative flicker through which formal innovation advances that knows how to amaze, while retaining the essentiality of the line.
Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Lassen designed this sofa (on the cover) in 1939 in a very special circumstance. They win a competition to redesign the town hall, library and theater in the Søllerød area, north of Copenhagen. Of the town hall, they also design the room where weddings are celebrated, complete with a sofa on which the betrothed can sit while waiting for the function. The high back of the sofa almost seems to want to protect and grant a moment of privacy, to the newlyweds of yesterday and to today’s users. The structure is balanced and essential, extremely linear, with small details, such as the buttons on the back and the elegant color palette, which make everything more gentle and familiar.
The CH72 two-seater sofa, designed in 1952 by Hans J. Wegner and now produced by Carl Hansen, is characterized by a small footprint and a graceful aesthetic. The backrest is high and is one with the two thin armrests: here we find a small but significant detail, the hand rests on a warm and precious wooden element, in the same essence as the feet of the sofa itself, clearly evident and slightly inclined towards the outside. The seat cushion is shaped and thin and helps to support the ergonomic position.
House of Finn Juhl is the company that since 2001 has put into exclusive production the most important projects of the Danish designer Finn Juhl. Among these, one of the most iconic is undoubtedly the Pelican chair of which the Poet sofa is the natural evolution. Designed in 1941, it is a two-seater sofa consisting of a sort of single shell that acts as a seat, back and armrests. The seat is made softer by a single cushion and the backrest is decorated with two rows of topstitching. Sculptural and discreet, this sofa was also chosen by the designer for his own home.
The PK31 collection designed in 1958 by Poul Kjærholm has a more gritty character. The first feature that stands out is the chromed steel base with its characteristic geometric shape. It supports the large but essential structure upholstered in black leather, with seat and back made more welcoming by soft cushions. The armrests have a particular trapezoid shape and the sofa can be two or three seater.
In 1969 Verner Panton totally questioned the classic sofa model with the Cloverleaf project. It is a modular sofa with curvilinear elements that can be composed to form new and unexpected configurations. Yet, in its disruptive and innovative being, this sofa retains the essentiality and compactness typical of the classic Scandinavian sofa. The ability to blend past and future makes it extraordinarily current and interesting.
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