Ejner Larsen and Aksel Bender Madsen - Nordic Design London Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Svend Erik Møller and Viggo Sten Møller, Dansk Møbelkunst, Københavns snedkerlaugs møbeludstilling 1927-1951, Copenhagen, 1951, p. 91 for a similar example
    'Allestimento per il mobile singolo alla Triennale', Domus, no. 300, November 1954, p. 60, fig. 3
    Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 3: 1947-1956, Copenhagen, 1987, p. 115 for a similar example
    Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 4: 1957-1966, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 79-81 for the leather upholstered model
    Christian Holmsted Olesen, Wegner: just one good chair, exh. cat., Design Museum Denmark, Copenhagen, 2014, p. 165

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1959 the two architects Ejner Larsen and Aksel Bender Madsen's designed an armchair, which acquired the moniker ‘Metropolitan’. Most possibly this title for the chair was due to its inclusion in an exhibition curated two years later by the architect Finn Juhl titled ‘The Arts of Denmark: Viking to Modern’ at The Metropolitan Museum, New York in 1961. Executed by the cabinetmaker Willy Beck the ‘Metropolitan’ armchair was produced with a leather upholstered seat and back.

    A variant of the present model, executed by cabinetmaker Ludvig Pontoppidan was first designed and exhibited at the 'Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild', in 1949. The present lot model was then included, produced by Fritz Hansen at the ‘X Triennale’, Milan, in 1954, and it is this design that can be considered the progenitor of the rarefied ‘Metropolitan’ armchair.

    Both the combined arms and back are elegantly executed from a single piece of moulded plywood, which rests upon tapering legs that form the arm supports and stiles. The design was critically well received as ‘A beautifully proportioned chair which was comfortable, and which was simple and inexpensive to make' (Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 4: 1957-1966, Copenhagen, 1987, p. 79).

    Ejner Larsen and Aksel Bender Madsen sophisticated adaptations, adherence to form and their appreciation of craftsmanship and construction are all contained within their furniture production. These two architects utilise the prestigious abilities of Willy Beck and other cabinetmakers and retain their intrinsic qualities of refined fabrication, which they then have applied to their designs produced by the innovative manufacturer Fritz Hansen.


Set of six ‘Metropolitan’ armchairs

circa 1954
Teak-veneered plywood, beech.
Each: 78.5 x 72.3 x 53.7 cm (30 7/8 x 28 1/2 x 21 1/8 in.)
Manufactured by Fritz Hansen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Underside of five seats with faded manufacturer's stamp FH/DANMARK.

£15,000 - 25,000 

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Nordic Design

London Auction 1 October 2015