Home Of Finn Juhl

by | 05. Sep 2012

Exhibitions and Events

photo: arcspace


Photo courtesy Finn Juhl Estate

The exhibition about the architect and furniture designer marks the opening of Finn Juhl’s house as part of the museum complex.

Danish architect Finn Juhl (1912-1989) is regarded as one of the greatest furniture designers of the 20th century. He was a pioneer figure within Danish furniture design and the Danish Modern movement, along with Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjærholm, and Børge Mogensen.

Being commissioned to furnish one of the larger delegates rooms at the UN building in New York, and being represented at the Museum of Modern Art, made him well known outside of Denmark early on. His many contacts led to collaboration with the American furniture industry making his furniture among the first to make Danish Modern an international phenomenon.
Today, Finn Juhl’s furniture are seen in private and public places, as well as museums, around the world.

The house where Finn Juhl lived and worked, located on a site adjoining Ordrupgaard museum park, was sold by the estate of Finn Juhl’s widow to Birgit Lyngbye Pedersen who, with the help of the Ministry of Culture, transferred the house to Ordrupgaard as a gift.

The Post War period, which saw the golden age of Danish design, is so beautifully represented in Finn Juhl’s home. We boast of the architecture and design of the time, but we have preserved so little in its original state; here was a chance to preserve something unique.
/Birgit Lyngbye Pedersen

Photo courtesy Finn Juhl Estate


Photo: arcspace

Now a permanent part of Ordrupgaard, with direct access from the park, the house forms a counterpart to the other museum buildings, the old stately home built between 1916 and 1918 by architect Gotfred Tvede, and the 2005 Zaha Hadid extension, completing the Ordrupgaard museum complex.

The house, he designed and built as a young architect in 1942, is a unique example of Danish modernism for both architecture, furniture design and the visual arts.

A perfect example of Juhl’s long career as an architect and furniture designer the house, for which he designed all the furniture, looks almost exactly as it did when he died in 1989.


Photo: Pernille Klemp


Photo: Sus Bojesen


Photo: arcspace

The house is composed of two blocks, standing at right-angles to each other, one houses a large living room and a small study, the other the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms and bathroom. The two blocks are connected by an entrance hall which opens to the garden. The house is brick with the facades plastered in a grey-white shade that produces a soft mat effect. Juhl designed from the inside out, the facades expressed the ideas behind the floor plan, and were secondary. The garden was designed by the landscape architect Troels Erstad.

An early example of the open-plan house; even though each room has its own clear function, it is always possible to look from one room to the next, and there is always a view of the garden. The ceilings are painted a pale yellow that reflects the light from outside and gives the feeling of being in a tent.


Photo: arcspace

The exhibition, inspired by his house, focuses on the artistic, sculptural side of Juhl’s work as a furniture designer – a relatively undocumented aspect of his work.

Curated by Birgit Lyngbye Pedersen the exhibition also includes highlights from his architecture, interior and furniture designs.


Photo: arcspace


Photo: arcspace

Trained as an architect, but primarily known as a furniture designer, Juhl often emphasized that as a furniture designer he was purely autodidact.

He broke away from the rigid geometries of traditional furniture, characterized by contemporaries such as Kaare Klint, and introduced a new furniture aesthetic that combined quality craftsmanship with functionality and aesthetic pleasure.

His furniture had a distinctively organic, sculptural idiom that was far removed from the the furniture design of the time.

The first piece of furniture, made by craftsman Niels Vodder, was the beginning of an extremely successful partnership between the creative architect and the skilled craftsman.


Photo: Pernille KlempFinn Juhl 45 Chair (1945)


Photo: Pernille KlempThe Chieftain Chair (1949) was considered one of Juhl’s masterpices.


Photo: arcspaceThe Fireplace Sofa (1952)


Photo: arcspaceThe Fireplace Sofa (1952)


Photo: arcspaceThe Pelican Chair

Juhl’s perception of the interior was furniture, art and space, created from a holistic thought process. He conceived his interiors on the basis of his perspective, and always considered his furniture as part of a spatial effect. His deliberations, however, never just included the space and its furniture, he also always embraced the expression of others in paintings, sculptures, and textiles.


Photo: arcspaceThe Table Bench (1953) Danish Furniture DesignErik Thommesen: Woman (1962) Private CollectionVilhelm Lundstrøm: Still Life (1932-33) Statens Museum for Kunst


Photo: arcspaceThe Grasshopper Chair (1938)Vilhelm Lundstrøm (no title, no year) Private Collection


Photo: arcspaceThe Double Chieftain Chair (1949) KunstindustrmuseetErik Thommesen relief: Women with Braids (1948) Holstebro Kunstmuseum


Photo: arcspaceThe Poet (1941) Kolmorgen ApSSigurjon Olafsson relief: Children Playing (1938) Sigurjon Olafsson Museum

Juhl’s first major interior design project was the Bing & Grøndahl porcelain store in Copenhagen. Characteristic for this store was that Juhl placed the products on shelves, in display cabinets, and on tables, resembling a showroom more than a store.

The teak he used was oiled, not varnished, which made it appear soft and mat in contrast to the cold, hard porcelain.

He was also responsible for the interior design of Georg Jensen’s stores around the world as well as the interior of SAS’s DC-8 airplane and 33 SAS ticket offices around the world. General characteristics of Finn Juhl’s interior design are the very careful selection of materials and colors as well as the integration of functionality and aesthetics.

Throughout his life he surrounded himself with contemporary art by Danish artists, such as Egill Jacobsen, Vilhelm Lundstøm, Richard Mortensen, and sculptures by his close friend Erik Thommesen, believing that design and art helped create a home and added balance and cohesion.

Although Juhl was a qualified architect he only designed five houses. One of them the Villa Aubertin (1952) was commissioned by lumber merchant M. Aubertin and his wife, both great admirers of Finn Juhl, who also ordered all the built-in interiors and furniture. The house is a “total concept” of architecture and design like Finn Juhl’s own house.


Photo courtesy Finn Juhl Estate

Finn Juhl started his training at the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1930 and started working with the architect Vilhelm Lauritzen, who also taught at the Academy, in 1934. At that time better students were “hand-picked” by teachers for their own practices.


That same year Vilhelm Lauritzen was commissioned to build the new domicile for the Danish Radio Company. By 1941 all the administrative offices had been completed. The Concert Hall, an exemplary functionalistic building. was completed in 1945.

The job was to have been only a summer job, but Juhl remained with Lauritzen for 11 years and as a result never finished his training. This was not important as he was accepted as a member of the Academic Architect’s Association (now the Federation of Danish Architects) in 1942.

The Japanese, being great Finn Juhl fans, are building an exact copy of the house 160 kilometers soutwest of Tokyo The house, with a mountain view, is scheduled for completion in 2012 to celebrate Finn Juhl’s 100 birthday. The house will be furnished with Juhl originals.


CITY Ordrup