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A favourite chair

November 14, 2017

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If you ask the founder and gallery owner, Ole Høstbo, if he has a favourite chair, he points out Finn Juhl’s NV 45 easy chair, designed in 1945. The chair is one of Juhl’s most harmonious pieces, marking an artistic clarification. It has all the features that characterize Juhl’s design, an organic, elegant lightness and beautiful, subtle details. The NV-45 chair was also one of the designer’s own favourites. Talking about it, he often emphasized its brave and unconventional joinery, especially where the armrests, backrests and legs come together. The principle of separating the seat and back from the bearing wooden frame also broke with traditional furniture making and introduced a more structural, open and transparent look, a mixture of elegance and strength. The slender, diagonal wooden braces beneath the seat were intended to make the chair more solid, yet at the same time they provide a discrete decorative effect, just at the refined concavity of the armrests – according to Juhl – was both a necessity to maximize the visual lightness and a way to create tactile pleasure.

The NV-45 chair firmly established the unique collaboration between Juhl and master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder. It is said that in the beginning of Juhl’s career, Vodder was the only cabinetmaker brave enough to tackle his often technically complicated designs. The sculptural forms demanded untraditional working methods. Vodder was an excellent craftsman and the beautiful joinery and delicately crafted curves of the NV-45 chair is a clear testament to his extraordinary capacity.

 

The chair was exhibited at Vodder’s stand at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1945. In his review of the exhibition architect Erik Herløw wrote: “The frame of the chair is beautifully modelled, organic like a bone, well suited to provide support for the muscles and to carry the weight of the body. Its form and texture calls to mind beautiful African weapons polished with use.”

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