Arne Jacobsen - Design London Wednesday, April 26, 2023 | Phillips

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  • A leading figure in Danish modernism, Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) was a pioneer of the aesthetics that are now key signifiers of post-war Scandinavian design. His virtuosity is not to be found in one sole architectural or design work, but rather in the variety of his oeuvre. Jacobsen’s approach towards his architectural designs would often permeate his designs for furniture, flatware and other items, fostering a sense of continuity and totality between his works.


    The present 'Swan’ armchair is one of the first editions of the widely celebrated model designed by Jacobsen, which has been produced by Fritz Hansen in various styles since 1958. Designed for the lobby of the SAS Royal hotel in Copenhagen in 1957, the site-specific piece helped to convey an image of understated elegance for the SAS company, which had formed in the early 1950s after the merging of three Scandinavian airlines.


    This version of the chair is especially rare, in that features the original rich brown leather upholstery supported by a swiveling four-legged base of brass plated aluminium, while most of the other ‘Swan’ chairs from the commission were executed in polished aluminium. Here, the fine handling of the materials elevates the piece as a true work of art. The chair remains faithful to its name, with its sleek form resembling a swan taking flight. At the time of its creation, the chair garnered attention for the innovative lightness of its fiberglass reinforced plastic shell. The organic curves of the backrest and wings also contribute to the weightless character of the work, cultivating an effortless dynamism that has cemented it as an iconic example of Scandinavian functionality and simplicity.

    • Provenance

      SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen
      Acquired from the above, 1983
      Kunst & Design, Krefeld, 'Auction 9', 7 May 2002, lot 569
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Poul Hvidberg-Hansen, Fritz Hansen 1872-1997: Danish Furniture Design Through 125 Years, Kolding, 1997, pp. 30-33
      Carsten Thau and Kjeld Vindum, Jacobsen, Copenhagen, 2001, pp. 138, 142, 182-83, 469-70, 478-79, 489, 511-14, 530
      Christopher Mount, Arne Jacobsen, San Francisco, 2004, pp. 53-54, 59, 66-67, 69, 85


'Swan' swivel armchair from the SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen

circa 1957
Leather, brass plated aluminium, steel, rubber.
74.5 x 79.5 x 68.5 cm (29 3/8 x 31 1/4 x 26 7/8 in.)
Manufactured by Fritz Hansen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Underside stamped FH. Underside of one leg impressed 13 and with crown symbol.

Full Cataloguing

£6,000 - 8,000 

Contact Specialist

Antonia King
Head of Sale, Design
+44 20 7901 7944


London Auction 26 April 2023