Modern + Contemporary Design /10 October 2006


Bodil Kjaer

Denmark, c. 1960
rosewood, chrome-plated steel
71 w × 17 d × 26 h in (180 × 43 × 66 cm)

Two doors conceal one adjustable shelf and three adjustable drawers. One center drop door conceals two white glass adjustable shelves.

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $5,400

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Bodil Kjaer b. 1932

Born in Hatting, Denmark in 1932, Bodil Kjaer is one of the foremost Danish architects and designers. Kjaer began her formal training at the Copenhagen School of Interior Architecture, completion of her studies, Kjaer worked for the architectural design company Arup where Penguin Publishing, IBM, and Oxford University were numbered among her clients. In addition to creating building designs, Kjaer was also a talented furniture designer. In 1959, she designed her iconic working table, a piece that has found a bit of celebrity. The design was used in three James Bond movies To Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service and renowned owners of the form include Prince Philip, Michael Caine, and Evelyn Rothschild.

Although her furniture designs are highly sculptural, Kjaer states that she intended them to be a “solution to functional, monetary, and aesthetical issues” as she felt that furniture was meant to be a part of architecture. In 1960, Kjaer partnered with Verner Panton to curate a furniture exhibit for the Nordic countries at the Cologne Furniture Fair. The following year, Kjaer began to design in glass, eventually creating the Cross vase (1961, relaunched in 2017) as a universal vessel for all types of flowers. After working in London for thirteen years, Kjaer moved to the United States and began teaching at the University of Maryland, where she taught until 1989.

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