Architects and Their Chairs “J”

Architects and Their Chairs “J”

  “J” is for Juhl

 

In Copenhagen, A Renaissance for Finn Juhl By Stephen Brookes • Modernism Magazine • Winter 2010

In Copenhagen, A Renaissance for Finn Juhl
        By Stephen Brookes • Modernism Magazine • Winter 2010

Finn Juhl (30 January 1912 – 17 May 1989) was a Danish architect, interior and industrial designer. Juhl was most notably known for his furniture design and for introducing Danish Modern to America in the 1940’s.

“Juhl’s life was, in fact, a roller coaster of fame and obscurity. High-profile projects in the 1940’s and 50’s (including the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the Danish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC and all of SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ air terminals in Europe and Asia) brought him international recognition, and he organized many of the exhibitions — including the “Good Design” exhibit in Chicago in 1951, and another at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1960.”                                                                                                           In Copenhagen, A Renaissance for Finn Juhl By Stephen Brookes • Modernism Magazine •

Salto & Sigsgaard. The restoration of the Finn Juhl–designed United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber, New York. Photography by Hans Ole Madsen.

Salto & Sigsgaard. The restoration of the Finn Juhl–designed United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber, New York. Photography by Hans Ole Madsen. Image via Salto and Sigsgaard pinterest

“One cannot create happiness with beautiful objects, but one can spoil quite a lot of happiness with bad ones” – Finn Juhl

 

Finn Juhl: Pelikan Take Sunset LA

Finn Juhl: Pelikan Take Sunset LA

 Pelikan is a wonderful example of Finn Juhl’s design. Inspired by the modern “free art” of the time, its organic shape and fluid lines are so inviting. . Via takesunset.com

Pelikan is a wonderful example of Finn Juhl’s design. Inspired by the modern “free art” of the time, its organic shape and fluid lines are so inviting. Via takesunset.com

 

Unlike many of his contemporaries in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, Juhl was as interested in form as in function.  “A chair is not just a product of decorative art in a space,” he said. “It is a form and a space in itself.”  His  attention to form led him to design chairs where the seat is separate from the frame (images 5, 6 & 8) and sofas constructed out of floating shapes.http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/

 

Item Description Bwana Chair, designed by Finn Juhl, Denmark 1962. prod. by France and Son, Denmark 1962. teak. -via deconet.com

Item Description Bwana Chair, designed by Finn Juhl, Denmark 1962.
prod. by France and Son, Denmark 1962. teak. -via deconet.com

Juhl gave a soft edge to the lines of wooden modernist chairs, favoring organic shapes which often took the wood to the limits of what was possible. He generally used teak and other dark woods, unlike many of the other proponents of the Danish Modern movement who often used oak in their designs.

He was influenced by the abstract sculptor Jean Arp, an influence which is seen already in his early Pelican chair but it remained a motif throughout his career. Also influenced by tribal art, Juhl exhibited the Chieftain chair with photos of weapons from anthropological studies.   Wikipedia

Bradley: “Denmark is a Disneyland for adults, for design geeks.”

Modernist Architecture 

Blog post: Modernism through the eyes of an architectural photographer.  Darren Bradley and Denise Bradley visit Finn Juhl’s House, “a person’s house says so much about their character”.

 

Finn Juhl Architecture, Estate photo courtesy Finn Juhl Estate

Finn Juhl Architecture, Estate photo courtesy Finn Juhl Estate

 

Finn Juhl Homeoffice via Dansk Mobel Kunst http://www.dmk.dk/blog/page/2/

Finn Juhl Homeoffice via Dansk Mobel Kunst

 

The Essence of a Miesian Dwelling

The Essence of a Miesian Dwelling

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

The Farnsworth House is a 1,500 sq.ft home designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945-51. It is a one-room weekend retreat in a once-rural setting. The design is recognized as a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, after joining the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.  The cost of project was $74,000 in 1951 ($648,000 in 2012 dollars). There was a cost overrun of $15,600 over the approved pre-construction budget of $58,400.  This created havoc,  lawsuits and counter lawsuits  ensued until the courts ordered Dr Farnsworth to pay her bill.

 

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At his inaugural lecture as director of the department in 1938, Mies stated:

“In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art.”

  This sentence summarized what had become Mies van der Rohe’s consistent approach to design: to begin with functional considerations of structure and materials, then to refine the detailing and expression of those materials until they transcended their technical origins to become a pure art of structure and space.

The dominance of a single, geometric form in a pastoral setting, with a complete exclusion of extraneous elements normally associated with habitation, reinforces the architect’s statement about the potential of a building to express “dwelling” in its simplest essence.

 

As Mies stated on his achievement, “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole.” Farnsworth House is the essence of simplicity in the purest form, displaying the ever-changing play of nature.

 

 

 

image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

 

Information for this post was obtained from the following resources:   Wikipedia          http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

Paul Rudolph: Concrete Connoisseur

Paul Rudolph: Concrete Connoisseur

In a small Kentucky town, Paul Rudolph was born to a nomadic Methodist preacher in 1918. His unique childhood was spent traveling the American south from church to church. The charm of these pious concrete structures and other regional landmarks inspired Rudolph to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University. His serendipitous meeting with Walter Gropius, the founder of Bauhaus, while pursuing his master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design would help shape his bright future as an architectural visionary.

Orange Country Government Center in Goshen, New York.

Orange Country Government Center in Goshen, New York.

After attaining his master’s, Paul Rudolph partnered with Ralph Twitchell in Florida and became a kingpin of the “Sarasota School”. This style of architecture focused on a clean contemporary floor plan and highlighted natural light, sweeping overhangs, and flat roofs. In 1958, Rudolph completed the Art and Architecture Building at Yale University. While there he felt a strong desire to share his passion and he became Dean at the Yale School of Architecture. After six years of inspiring a new generation of builders, Rudolph relocated to New York. He continued to focus all of his attention on the controversial Brutalist style. Brutalist architecture was inspired by the modernist movement. These buildings tend to be extremely linear, square, and feature predominantly concrete.

Yale Art and Architecture Building.

Yale Art and Architecture Building.

Despite being idolized by his peers, the public found many of his larger brutalist designs to be “brutal indeed” and criticized the abundance of concrete and steel. When Paul Rudolph passed away in 1997, his obituary in the New York Times said, “With the exception of Louis I. Kahn, no American architect of his generation enjoyed higher esteem in the 1960’s.  But after 1970, his reputation plummeted. Many of his buildings are being torn down, or are in danger of being torn down.  Mr. Rudolph leaves behind a perplexing legacy that will take many years to untangle.” However; a little over 15 years later, the unique appeal of Paul Rudolph’s brutalist designs is reaching  new audiences who are embracing the incredible buildings with open arms.

Paul Rudolph's 1961 Miami home.

Paul Rudolph’s 1961 Miami home.