In Order of Appearance

Mar 10 - Jul 23

20th century chair design

Opening March 9th
Exhibition March 10 - July 23, 2012

Armchair, Cantilever Chair, Fold Up Chair, Folding Chair, Rocking Chair, Swivel Chair. No piece of furniture comes in such diverse forms as the chair.

The exhibition plays with tensions of oppositions by using groups or pairings of innovative forms from scandinavian and international 20th century furniture design. It shows important design classics, technical innovations, unique pieces, prototypes and rare examples that help shed light on the evolution of 20th century chair design. The analytic contemplation of form, proportion, color, and material allow relations between the furniture to reveal new information about the different artistic approaches and motivations.

Curated by Ilke Penzlien

Exhibition View

No. 5638. Charles & Ray Eames Shell Chair, 1950-53. Material: Laminated resin, metal. Plastic armchairs were first presented as part of a New York Museum of Modern Art competition, "Low Cost Furniture Design". Their organically-shaped plastic seat shells were later combined with different bases and manufactured in the millions.

Exhibition View

No. 5821. Ilmari Tapiovaara Congo Chair, 1954. Material: Waterproof cotton canvas bends, steel. In 1953, Tapiovaara received a traditional African chair from the Congo as a present from a friend. He was inspired by its structure, where the seat/back leg element is pushed through the back rest/front leg part, thereby locking in to the solid robust seat. Tapiovaara designed numerous versions based on the same theme, both from tubular steel and wood.

Exhibition View

No. 6094. Marcel Breuer Short Chair mod. 1091, 1932. Material: Aluminium. Manufactured by Embru. Due to deteriorating economic and political conditions in Germany, Breuer closed his Berlin office in 1931 and traveled to Budapest, Zurich, Morocco, Greece, and Spain. Returning to Germany in the following year, he began designing furniture in aluminum.

No. 7446. Gerrit Rietveld Zig Zag Chairs, 1932-1934 Material: Oak, brass. Using only four elements joined with a system of dovetailing, the Zig Zag chair's visual simplicity belies a relatively complex construction. This 1934 design is an expression of the "De Stijl" movement and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Made of natural cherry, Zig Zag can serve as a chair or a side table.

No. 7386. Hans Wegner Peacock Chair, 1947. Material: Oak, teak, rope seat. Despite the chair’s almost postmodern design, it was actually manufactured as early as 1947 at Johannes Hansen’s Møbelsnedkeri A/S. Its consciously modern lines are not merely a matter of looks, but rather the sweeping back motion of its extravagantly-shaped sticks is a true feat of ergonomic aesthetics. The flat part of the sticks, which gives it its peacock-like appearance, are placed where the shoulder blades meet the chair’s back. When Finn Juhl first saw this chair, he immediately noticed its characteristic back and named it the Peacock Chair.

No. 5431. Robert Wilson "Hamletmaschine" Chair, 1987. Material: Grey perforated steel. The chair was designed for Heiner Müllers play "HamletMaschine"at the Hamburg Thalia Theatre in 1987. Robert Wilson had adapted and directed the play that same year together with the author. Signed Robert Wilson No.22.

No. 1130. Carl Bergsten Strömsholmen Chair, 1906. Material: Stained beech, original calf leather. Influenced by his meeting with Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann in Vienna, Carl Bergsten designed this chair for an exhibition in his hometown of Norrkoping. The chair became part of the interior at Strömsholmen Restaurant. The waitresses who worked at the restaurant often stumbled over the chairs' protruding loop below the legs, so some of the arcs were sawed off.

No. 5643. Jorgen Hovelskov Prototype Chair, 1961. Material: Pine. A predecessor to the famous Harp Chair, which was based on a Viking Ship's bow section. The configuration of the flag halyard gives the design a powerful optical quality.