HERITAGE CHAIRS FROM LEGENDARY DANISH DESIGNERS FIND NEW LIFE IN MODERN SPACES.
The Pelican chair was presented by Finn Juhl in Copenhagen in 1940, decades before its time. Shown here in Gotland sheepskin upholstery. PHOTO COURTESY OF HYGGE LIFE/HOUSE OF FINN JUHL
DENMARK BECAME AN EPICENTER of modern furniture design in the 1940s and 1950s when makers would bring their prototypes to the annual Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition. The movement built the foundation for Danish modern furniture design, which has endured for decades. “A lot of what you find today at places like RH, CB2, West Elm and Crate & Barrel is inspired by what these guys did back then,” says Koen van Renswoude. He and his wife, Alexandra Gove, are owners of Hygge Life (hyggelife.com), a high-end purveyor of home furnishings in Eagle-Vail.
The timeless furniture collection in their showroom highlights those Danish artisans. “These chairs were designed 60 to 70 years ago, and they’re still relevant today,” he says. “And in 70 years, they’ll still be relevant.” The range of chairs at Hygge Life transcends the art of sitting. “We’re seeing a shift with customers from fast furniture to wanting to buy legacy pieces that will last a lifetime,” Gove says. The couple gave us the backstory on three iconic designs to elevate any space—in any decade.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GUBI
PACHA LOUNGE CHAIR THE DESIGNER: PIERRE PAULIN
Comfort is king in this 1975 Pacha lounge chair. “Pierre Paulin’s idea was to design a little cloud on which you can float away,” van Renswoude says. Though the chair sits low to the ground, it offers a versatile fit. “I’m 6-foot-4, and it’s super comfy for me to sit in.” The Pacha chair comes with or without armrests and either as a stationary chair or with a swivel base. And it’s modular. Connect multiple Pacha chairs together to form a cozy sofa.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HOUSE OF FINN JUHL
CHIEFTAIN CHAIR THE DESIGNER: FINN JUHL
“Finn Juhl wanted to study art history, but his dad said, ‘No, that’s not a viable profession,’” van Renswoude says. Instead, the wouldbe artist was sent to architecture school. “But through his furniture designs, Juhl was able to move the arts back into his work.” Introduced in 1949, the Chieftain chair is one of Juhl’s masterpieces. The distinctive curves of its sculptural wooden frame are made by craftspeople in Japan, and the chair is assembled in Denmark. “Juhl’s idea was that you never sit frozen in furniture,” van Renswoude says. “He designed the chair for the next position you sit in.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF CARL HANSEN & SØN
MAMA BEAR LOUNGE CHAIR CH78 THE DESIGNER: HANS WEGNER
Introduced in 1954 by Hans Wegner, the Mama Bear chair offers a warm sensory embrace. With soft, elegant curves, this chair was a departure from the heavy lounge chairs of the day. The melding of upholstery with wood details adds depth. “The wooden armrests give the appearance of bear paws,” Gove says. “It’s a playful yet elegant detail.” The modern iteration has a removable headrest that can be fashioned in either leather or upholstery