Denmark 50

Borge Mogensen


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  

Borge Mogensen’s designs reveal a commitment to simple and highly functional furniture. Born in Aalborg, Denmark he later studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, and then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Mogensen was apprenticed as a cabinetmaker under Kaare Klint during his time at the Academy, and this association proved to be very influential. Klint had been very impressed with Shaker furniture from America because its utilitarian premises echoed the functionalism that had taken hold among designers and architects in Europe. Mogensen embraced similar ideas in turn.

Many think that Mogensen’s chairs are based on Shaker prototypes. His “J39,” a wooden, four-legged, single slat backed design is a good example. It resembles the “low ladder back” chairs of Shaker origin. Additionally, Mogensen’s “trestle table” complements his chairs, and is called by Christian Becksvoort a “redefined Shaker classic.” These designs were related to Mogensen’s involvement with the Danish Cooperative Wholesale Societies’ efforts to create simple, attractive furniture for everyday use. This type of furniture was very popular among people who were not interested in designs exhibiting significant modernist influences. Other of his work is also worth noting like the “Spanish” chair, which was praised for its style. Thus, Mogensen was a significant interpreter of the traditional forms even in the midst of modernizing and revolutionary changes in production and design.

Besides furniture, Borge Mogensen is known for tackling the problem of storage in the modern home. His research produced a detailed manual for building storage systems containing information tables for drawer and shelf dimensions based on the size, shape, and number of common household objects owned by the average family.

A related project that Mogensen worked on was a shelving system called “Oresund” that was aimed at providing storage solutions for just these kind of families. Even so, he continued to design furniture exhibiting almost every year at the Copenhagen Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibitions. It is in this field that he left his mark.