Finn Juhl was one of the greatest doyens of 20th century Danish Design and along with Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner, he played a crucial role in extending the popularity of Danish Modern to the United States and hence, the world. He is known by his elegant yet sturdy, functional and outstandingly comfortable furniture designs.
As a young man in Copenhagen, Finn Juhl was spending his time in museums and libraries and originally wanted to study art. However, upon his authoritarian father’s convincing, he gravitated towards studying architecture. From 1930 to 1934, he studied at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts under the supervision of famous Danish architects such as Kay Fisker. Out of school, he worked for Vilhem Lauritzen’s architecture firm, where he took part in the design of Denmark’s National Radio Building.
His interest in contemporary art of his day shows in every detail of his designs. The Pelican Chair (1940) clearly is a Purist/Cubist version of a classic armchair. Not afraid of trying new things, Juhl is also famous with his flamboyant and self-assured nature, which is visible in his 45 Chair (1945), which was one of the first to break tradition by freeing the seat and back from the frame.
Finn Juhl quickly became famous in the U.S with his admirably comfortable Chieftains Lounge Chair (1949) and sculptural Baker Sofa (1951). The Baker Sofa has an upholstered body divided in two, resting upon an elegant and light construction of wood – a typical example of how Finn Juhl separated the elements in order to create a visual lightness.