Arne Jacobsen (1902-71)

Danish architect and interior designer, born Copenhagen, active Denmark.


Jacobsen studied architecture at the Arts and Crafts Academy of Copenhagen, and opened an office in 1927 upon graduating. His early work displayed an admiration of Bauhaus and International Style design, the work of Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Gunnar Asplund.

By the 1950´s however, the more organic modern aesthetic emerging across the Atlantic captured his attention. Charles Eames' DCW inspired one of Jacobsen´s most successful pieces, the three-legged Ant chair (1952), manufactured by Fritz Hansen. Admirable in its simplicity, the two-piece chair was perfectly suited for economical mass production, and has since sold millions of copies worldwide.

Jacobsen demanded total control of his projects, producing buildings and interiors of rare cohesion. Nowhere is this more evident than in his SAS Hotel, Copenhagen (1960), for which he designed everything from the architectural shell to the restaurant flatware. His famous Swan chair was conceived for this project.

He achieved a similar unity of purpose in his 1964 St. Catherine´s College building at the University of Oxford, designing light fixtures, textiles, and ergonomic seating meant to facilitate long hours of study.

Other famous works include the Egg chair (1958), and the Cylindra Range (1967) of stainless steel cutlery and serving pieces for Stelton. His 1957 flatware for A. Michelsen appeared in Stanley Kubrick´s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Honors and awards include the grand prize at the 1957 Triennale di Milano, the 1960 Grande Prix Internationale, the 1969 Industrial Design Prize, and the 1971 gold medal from the French Academy of Architecture.

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