At northmodern OneCollection showed the recently re-released France Chair that was designed by Finn Juhl and produced by France & Son from 1958.
Known originally as Chair FJ136, it was delivered as a flat pack which seems to have contributed to its popularity, particularly for the export market.
More restrained than many of the designs by Juhl, the complex curves of the seat and back of the chair are a development of the 108 Chair of 1946 and the pronounced but gently-curved elbow rests on the arms are reminiscent of the arms of the Chieftain Chair from 1949.
C W F France was an English businessman who from 1936 ran the Danish company Lama at Ørholm with the cabinet maker Eric Daverkosen, producing mattresses and furniture. After the War, the company expanded rapidly and at one stage, by the mid 50s, produced up to 60% of Danish furniture exports. The company changed its name to France & Son in 1957. The working relationship between Juhl and France & Son was fascinating … Juhl was certainly not the most commercially focused designer of the post-war period.
It would be interesting to see production numbers for the chair because it was, possibly, the most overtly commercial of Juhl's designs. Clearly, this was not 'flat-pack' furniture as we think of it now but, unlike Mogensen and Wegner and most other major designers of the post-war period, Juhl did not produce furniture for the lower priced, more popular, sector of the market so he did not design for FDB - the Danish COOP.
A book on the France company - and their work with major Danish designers, including Finn Juhl, Grete Jalk, Ole Wanscher and Hvidt & Mølgaard - has recently been published: France & Søn – British Pioneer of Danish Furniture by James France from the publisher Forlaget Vita.