Finn Juhl, a man we’ve discussed many times before, captured my attention yesterday after I had a quick browse of their website. It was a pleasant surprise to see a new catalogue released this year which not only features some classic Finn Juhl furniture but also some nice text to accompany it, a few paragraphs written by Christian Homlsted Olesen, the curator at the Design Museum in Denmark, who sledded some light on Finn’s life and attitude. I never knew that his Danish colleagues saw him as a “weather vane” who blindly followed the winds of fashion, from his finished pieces I would have never of fathomed this. But I guess maybe they were jealous that Finn didn’t follow “tradition” as such, a lot of the time he went against the grain by using teak and other dark woods in his furniture, where as most of the Danish modern movement were using a lighter colour like oak.
What I find most enticing about Mr Juhl is his amazing amount of knowledge in the art and design fields, he originally wanted to be an art historian so this makes sense that a lot of artists styles fell into his industrial type design method. For example he was a big fan of different sculptors such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jean Arp, they intrigued him and this played a part in the movement of his furniture. He wanted to create fluidity in his forms. Another interesting aspect of his work was the idea of making people look like they were floating when seated, using the famous corbel method he was able to separate the carried and carrying elements, it made for quite a striking but unobtrusive finished piece.
Finn Juhl was a stickler for craftsmanship and quality, at that current time the USA were looking back to more human and organic shapes after the war, this meant Finn was most probably the first Danish furniture designer to really showcase Danish work in this country. I liked this final quote from Christian Homlsted Olesen who said:
“He was a Danish designer, who communicated the sensory qualities of wood and his love of finding inspiration in nature and history to the rest of the world. Contrary to most Danish design, his furniture is not pragmatic and sensible but saturated with a grand and exclusive zest for life. It speaks of an originality, individualism and freedom, which most of the world can appreciate today.”
I think this is a fantastic quote to finish on as it summarises his works beautifully, check out the selection of imagery below. More can be seen on the Finn Juhl brochure page by clicking the link below.