22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Northern Europe is a powerhouse for great design. Some attribute it to the excellent public education system. Others credit their tradition of craftsmanship. Still others claim it's that unique type of Nordic light. In all likelihood, it's probably a little bit of each. Denmark, in particular, has produced some of the most interesting names in 20th century design—and the 22 chairs (and one table) below are going to show you why.


Ant Chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen (1952), and a table and a chair by Poul Kjaerholm (1957, 1956).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


The GJ Chair by designer Grete Jalk at the Victoria and Albert Museum's Danish Design exhibition, in London, in 1963.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Douglas Miller/Getty Images


Chairs suspended from the ceiling, designed by Verner Panton, the most influential Danish designer of the 1970s.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Keystone/Getty Images


Hans J. Wegner's international breakthrough came in 1949 with the Round Chair, which was used 11 years later in the televised presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Jakob Maarbjerg/POLFOTO/AP


The chair became Wegners' best-known design.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: PP Møbler/Danish Interior Design


Teddy Bear Chair, designed by Hans J. Wegner for PP Møbler, 1951.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


The "Panton" chair in an exhibition.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: David Hecker/DAPD/AP


Series 7 Chair by Arne Jacobsen for Republic of Fritz Hansen (1958).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


Verner Panton's System 1-2-3, a swivel-based dining chair.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Design Within Reach/AP


Verner Panton's Bar Boy bar car, a mobile cylinder of pivoting components.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design/Design Within Reach/AP


Fritz Hansen's Egg Chair, Designed by Arne Jacobsen, 1958.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


Fritz Hansen's Rin designed by Japanese designer Hiromichi Konno in 2008

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


The Flag Halyard Chair designed by Hans J. Wegner in 1950

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


Peacock Chair by Hans J. Wegner (1947).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


The Swan, designed by Arne Jacobsen (1958).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


Arne Jacobsen's Ant Chair and a Favn Sofa by Jaime Hayón (2010) for the Republic of Fritz Hansen.

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


Pelican chair by Finn Juhl (1940)

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: finnjuhl.com


Shell chair by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & SØN (1963).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


57 Sofa by Finn Juhl (1957).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: finnjuhl.com


Ocolus Chair by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & SØN (1960).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: Danish Interior Design


Lounge Chair by Poul Kjærholm (1965).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


Nanna Easy Chair by Nanna Ditzel (2002).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: nanna-ditzel-design.dk


The Space Chair by Jehs + Laub (2007).

22 Elegant Chairs That Illustrate the Essence of Danish Modernism

Photo: fritzhansen.com


What's your favourite Danish masterpiece? Drop your pictures in the comments below!