Finn Juhl (1912-89)

Danish architect and designer, born and active Copenhagen. Juhl studied under Kaare Klint at the Royal Academy of Arts where he graduated in 1934.


Afterwards taking a job with the architect Vilhelm Lauritzen. The house he designed for himself during this period was widely acclaimed, but Juhl was principally becoming known as a furniture designer. Reacting to the prevalent Functional style, his work incorporated soft curves and primitive sculptural forms. He is credited with pioneering the use of teak in furniture design, which had been prohibitively expensive before modern sawing techniques.

Juhl began a longstanding relationship with the cabinet maker Neils Vodder in the late 1930´s. Their pieces were frequently shown at the annual exhibitions of the Danish Cabinetmakers' Guild. His "sofa with ears" (1939) reflected the visual vocabulary of modern art, particularly the sculptures of Jean Arp. His early chairs were handmade in small quantities, featuring the floating backs and seats which came to characterize his work, and to emphasize its sculptural quality.

Edgar Kaufmann Jr., whose father had commissioned Fallingwater from Frank Lloyd Wright, introduced Juhl´s work to America. By the early 1950´s Juhl, who had opened his own office, was designing a furniture collection for Baker, and an exhibit for the "Good Design" show in Chicago. He was also selected to design the Trusteeship Council Chamber for United Nations headquarters in New York.

Among Juhl´s notable designs are the Pelican chair (1940), Chieftain armchair (1949) and the Bwana chair and ottoman (1962). Juhl´s work won gold medals at several Milan Triennale, and was exhibited across Europe and the United States.

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