Frits Schlegel - Design London Wednesday, April 26, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Erik Nyegaard, Strandvejen, Denmark, commissioned directly from the designer, circa 1949

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Danish architect Frits Schlegel (1896-1965) operated on all scales, often designing both the outer structures and the interior furnishings of his many prestigious commissions. As such, it is no wonder that many of his projects are widely considered works of total design, or Gesamkunstwerke. Whether created for private clients or a public context, Schlegel’s work had a characteristic understated quality, as well as a true sensitivity towards site and location. Throughout his career, he supplanted notions of monumentality and historicism with his own interpretation of functionalism. This focus is evident throughout his oeuvre, which includes structures in the Copenhagen Zoo, the Tivoli Concert Hall, numerous private villas as well as a range of furniture and lighting. His distinct style was a combined result of his classical architectural training, his visionary approach to materials and construction methods, as well as his unwavering dedication to his craft.

    The side tables offered here were originally commissioned by Erik Nyegaard, a prominent member of the Danish resistance movement during the Second World War. Following the end of the conflict, Nyegaard sought the expertise of Schlegel for the design of his new villa located in Strandvejen, which is a coastal suburb of Copenhagen. After a series of proposals, the design was completed in 1947 and executed in 1949. In the design of the structure, Schlegel was careful to incorporate mostly regional, site-specific materials as well as elements of the Danish building tradition. However, the project is also a testament to Schlegel’s sensitivity towards international trends in design, with eclectic references to broader trends in Modernism, Prairie-style architecture, and the Arts and Crafts movement. The delicate interior furnishings from the Nyegaard villa present a pleasing contrast to his use of strong concrete forms in the structure itself. While simplistic and small in scale, the side tables offered here are carefully crafted to include clear, minimal proportions. They are materially rich; expertly cut out of a warm-toned Brazilian rosewood to evoke motifs from traditional furniture. The collection of furniture from the Nyegaard villa presents a brilliant example of Schlegel’s consistent attention to both elegance and function in his designs.


Lot offered with No Reserve

Pair of unique side tables

circa 1949
Brazilian rosewood-veneered wood, Brazilian rosewood.
Each: 54 x 63.8 x 44 cm (21 1/4 x 25 1/8 x 17 3/8 in.)

£1,800 - 2,400 Ω•

Sold for £2,159

Contact Specialist

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


London Auction 26 April 2023