Karmstol by Edvard Thomsen 1930

chair by Edvard Thomsen in Designmuseum Danmark


This chair, designed in 1930 by Edvard Thomsen (1884-1980) is interesting because it has features that suggest that its design is transitional … in part looking back to the style of older chairs that were an interpretation of classical forms and historic styles but in part the chair incorporates modern ideas and modern joinery.

It is not a modern chair, if you apply the simple criteria that no one would assume that it was made recently, but then neither was it an expensive chair made with complicated joinery by a cabinetmaker using expensive timber that would make it more typical of sn earlier period. The shape of the back rest clearly looks to an earlier type - what is called a Klismosstole - particularly the arched and splayed back posts of the chair and the vertical of the back legs that continue up to support a boldly curved back rest - but the front legs are turned and straight so they look much more modern … close to the type of simple turned leg used by Hans Wegner or Børge Mogensen - and the plywood seat is distinctly modern.

When seen from below it is also obvious that the chair was designed to be made relatively quickly and easily with parts fixed with screws, rather than with traditional joints, and the frame of the seat is reinforced with triangular plates that are fixed across the corners in a channel cut on the back of the rails of the seat - a form of reinforcement or strengthening still used for the seat frames of chairs.

In contrast, the chairs that Thomsen designed for the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Charlottenborg in 1924 now appear to be much more old fashioned - more certainly a revival or reinterpretation of a classical style that looks backwards rather than looking forward in anticpation to Danish chairs of the 1930s and 1940s or onwards.


Chairs designed by Thomsen for the Royal Academy for Charlottenborg in Copenhagen are of the type referred to as a Klismos chair or Klismosstole with a strongly curved back rest and extravagantly curved legs that splay outwards to the front and back