Spanish Chair by Børge Mogensen 1958

photograph taken at the showroom of Fredericia in Copenhagen


Børge Mogensen - the zebra skin and the wall hanging suggest that the photograph was taken in 1958 on the exhibition stand of the cabinetmaker Erhard Rasmussen at Kunstindustrimusset


designed by Børge Mogensen in 1958
shown by Erhard Rasmussen at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition at Kunstindustrimuseet in Copenhagen in 1958

made by Fredericia

height: 67 cm
width: 82.5 cm
depth: 60 cm
height of seat: 33 cm

The Spanish Chair designed by Børge Mogensen was first shown in September and October 1958 at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition at Kunstindutrimuseet in Copenhagen - now called Designmuseum Danmark. Produced by the Danish furniture company Fredericia - they are now celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The chair was shown in an interesting room setting along with a very large sofa upholstered in a giant check that was said to be large enough to sleep three and there was a zebra skin on the floor and models of yacht hulls across the wall … all with the title “furniture for a country house.”

They were described by the critic Johan Møller Nielsen as -

“the chair and couch for the consummate idler! It is hardly possible to make furniture more expensive than this. The whole interior is wonderful to look at and to to be in, and it would be well suited to be exhibited in one of the rooms of the ‘Louisiana’ museum of modern art as an example of the best furniture design of our age. But it is of no value whatsoever to the average citizen …”

Louisiana - just up the coast from the city - had only opened that August.

Even reading the criticism several times, and having typed it out, it’s not clear if this is praise or criticism.

Of course, it’s ironic that Børge Mogensen, is being damned here, apparently, for designing furniture that the average citizen could not afford, because he was and is best known not just as one of the great designers of his generation but through the 1940s as the head of design for FDB - the Danish Coop - when they produced well-designed modern furniture of a high quality and at the lowest price possible.

For the exhibition in 1958 the set of Spanish chairs were made by the cabinetmaker Erhard Rasmussen but the design was then produced by the Danish furniture company Fredericia who still make the chair.

To mark the anniversary of the Spanish Chair, Fredericia have relaunched the dining chairs, with and without arms, that were designed in 1964 that have the same form of set and back rest with leather stretched across the frame and held in place with large buckles.


Trinidad Chair by Nanna Ditzel 1993

Trinidad Chair in the permanent collection of Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen



The Trinidad Chair is one of the most distinct and most unusual of modern Danish chairs made in plywood. It was designed by Nanna Ditzel and was given that name because the fretwork of facades in Trinidad, seen by her on trips to the island, had been the initial inspiration for the design.

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J16 Gyngestol / Rocking Chair by Hans Wegner 1944

Hans Wegner designed a number of rocking chairs that were inspired by the 19th-century Shaker rocking chair in the collection at the design museum in Copenhagen. He copied the simple, straight, turned legs that are bird-mouthed over the shaped and distinctive rockers and he copied the vertical and distinctly upright and high back posts of the chair.

However, in this version, he combined those distinct elements with the vertical rails of the back and a deeper head rest that were inspired by traditional Windsor chairs from England.

With Børge Mogensen - who he knew from the School of Arts and Crafts - Wegner was commissioned by Frederik Nielsen of the Danish Cooperative Union (FDB) to design a range of good, well-made furniture to be sold at a reasonable price that could be afforded by couples and young families living in smaller houses or two and three-room apartments. 

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Barbry Stool by Aurelien Barbry


The Danish furniture company Fredericia have moved from Frederiksborggade in Copenhagen to an extensive and impressive new space in Løvstræde where they are on the upper floors of the recently restored old post office building. There are large, well-lit spaces for displaying the furniture and, from the upper level, amazing views over the roof scape of the old city.

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Fredericia at northmodern


With such a large number of designers and manufacturers showing their work at northmodern it is a place where you actually have to revise a few of those myths about Danish design. For a start Danish design is not all about white walls or, when colour is used, all safe, soft and muted.

Fredericia took the opportunity at northmodern to show their work with Uffe Buchard from Darling Creative Studio to create the ‘Double F Hotel’.

Shown in May in their city-centre store as part of 3daysofdesign, the spaces created represent a bar, a hotel lounge and a dining room. Publicity material from Fredericia talks about the ‘bright colours, unexpected textiles and … homey atmosphere, which today’s traveller demands … A home away from home.’

All the furniture is from the current Fredericia range but here shown against very strong colours and with dramatic use of lighting and plants and some furniture is shown with new textiles.

The concept is inspirational. 

Design hotels all over the world are a target market for any major design or furniture company, not just for the contract itself, but of course many travellers now seek inspiration from where they stay on holiday or business trips … a stay in a hotel is a chance to actually try out a new design or discover a new idea for fittings or decoration or use different and sometimes outrageous bathrooms … and then try to reproduce the look or track down the furniture for their own homes. 

Colours chosen by Uffe Buchard and the very confident juxtaposition of certain classic designs could certainly be copied in larger apartments in Copenhagen or Oslo or Sweden and particularly in older buildings with higher ceilings and large sash windows but would be equally theatrical in the new harbour-side apartments with their dramatic light reflected back up off the water. A large apartment only because in a small or cluttered space the use of such strong dark colours can be claustrophobic but maybe I'm still too cautious about using colour in this way ... maybe all that’s needed is inspiration … and maybe a little courage … or conviction.


extreme ply


The Bow Chair from 1963 and the matching set of three side tables or nesting tables were designed by Grete Jalk and produced by PP Jeppesens Møbelfabrik. Jalk was a student under Kaare Klint.

The Trinidad stacking chair with it’s ornately pierced or fret work plywood back rest was designed in 1993 by Nanna Ditzel for Fredericia.