Stangestolen / The Snake Chair by Poul Henningsen 1932

 

Having looked at and written about a number of Danish chairs that were designed in the 20th century, it seemed important to include this chair - The Snake Chair designed by Poul Henningsen - not because it is remotely representative - it is actually perversely unique - but because it is distinctly modern in the materials it used.

With a single coil of tubular steel to support the seat and back, it breaks with almost all conventions, but, curiously, it also appears to be 'of it's period'. 

So if someone who did not know the chair was asked to guess its date they would, at the very least, see that it is unlikely to be a recent design but nor is it old, in the sense of being traditional or conventional. If then told that it dates from the 1930s many would see that it fits with the general style of that period … with aspects in common with furniture from the Bauhaus in Germany or with Art Deco furniture from France or the Netherlands. It appears to be even more certainly of that period when you see photographs of the chair along with the piano that Poul Henningsen designed so a combination of materials - tubular steel - and a sort of deliberately outrageous look sets a sense of a style of a very specific period.

The form of the chair is the product of a highly individual and unconventional designer who was known for his work designing lights that were - and still are produced by the Danish company of Louis Poulsen - but Poul Henningsen was also a journalist - he wrote for Politiken and edited the journal Critical Review - was an advocate of jazz music - wrote enthusiastically of his admiration for Josephine Baker when she performed in Copenhagen - wrote songs himself; was a filmmaker and was - appropriately - architect to the park at Tivoli. 

 
 

designed by Poul Henningsen (1894-1967)

originally made by VA Høffding

stainless steel and leather

height: 85cm
width: 37cm
height of seat: 50cm