Denmark 50

Nanna Ditzel
1923 -


Nanna Ditzel
Fritz Henningsen  
Poul Henningsen  
Peter Hvidt  
Arne Jacobsen  
Grete Jalk  
Finn Juhl  
Jacob Kjaer  
Poul Kjaerholm  
Kaare Klint  
Borge Mogensen  
Verner Panton  
Arne Vodder  
Ole Wanscher  
Hans Wegner  

Award winning designer Nanna Ditzel’s career has spanned five decades and continues to be a source of wonderful innovation right up to the present day. Born in Copenhagen in 1923, she would later become an apprentice cabinetmaker at the Richards School before completing her education at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In the same year that she graduated from the Academy she and her first husband, Jorgen Ditzel, established a design studio in order to continue their already fruitful collaboration.

During this period of her career she designed several signature pieces like the “Two-Seat Sofa,” which was both functional and decorative exhibiting striking curves. Another example is the “Hanging” or “Basket” chair that could be suspended from the ceiling and serves as a remarkable example of the Ditzel’s experiments with wicker. In 1954 Nanna and Jorgen began creating jewelry for Georg Jensen. These designs would win them both gold and silver medals at the Milan Trienalle. Using the rippling of little waves across the surface of water as an important source of inspiration Nanna Ditzel created, throughout her career, jewelry that communicates an elegant interpretation of simple organic form. Collaboration with her husband also produced a series of children’s furniture the most notable of which is the “Toadstool” which was a stackable piece that could serve as either stool or table.

Nanna continued her creative work even after the untimely death of Jorgen in 1961. She participated in several international “One Woman” exhibitions in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, and New York. Her work with textiles produced the furnishing fabric Hallingdal for Halling-Koch Design Centre and is distributed today by Kvadrat. Then, in 1968 she remarried to Kurt Heide and moved to England where the two worked to found a meeting place for international design called Interspace. Here she had a studio of her own and a company, Nanna Ditzel Productions, through which she sold her jewelry textiles and furniture.

In recent years she has received a lifelong Artist’s Grant from the Danish Ministry of Culture and been the subject of a book “Motion and Beauty” by Henrik Sten Moller. Her recent designs include the popular “Trinidad” chair, for which she won the ID prize in 1995, and the cast iron “City Bench.” Other notable designs worth mentioning include the delicate and beautiful “Butterfly” chair and the finely rippled, “Seashell” chairs.