Kay and Erna Bojesen with a chimpanzee at the Copenhagen Zoo. Danske Designere: Kay Bojesen, Olsen, pg. 75

Lines Should Smile

Kay Bojesen and Danish Design

Danish silversmith and designer, Kay Bojesen (1886-1958) is best known for his wooden toys. He designed a variety of playful animal forms, but the most popular was the monkey which was produced in a variety of sizes. From American television to exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the monkey is renowned worldwide.

But Bojesen's contribution to design was not limited to the wood toys he made; he apprenticed with Georg Jensen, was artistic director for Bing and Grøndal and crafted bowls for Finn Juhl. Bojesen was also a founding member of Den Permanente, a gallery and retail shop dedicated to exhibiting the best of Danish design.

A Den Permanente advertisement. Danske Designere: Kay Bojesen, pg. 75

Finn Juhl 1912–1989

Finn Juhl was a pioneering designer, famed for his organic, sculptural style, as well as a key proponent of bringing mid-century Scandinavian design to the wider world market. Born in Frederiksberg, Denmark in 1912, Juhl’s father was a textile wholesaler who insisted that his son pursue architecture, rather than studying art history, which was his real passion as a young man. In 1930, he enrolled in the Royal Danish Academy of Art’s School of Architecture in Copenhagan.

After graduating in 1934, Juhl went on to work for architect Vilhelm Lauritzen for eleven years. During this time, monumental shifts were taking place in architectural practice and theory; at the time, historicism was still the predominant style, with a surge of Neoclassism beginning around 1910. By the mid-1930s, functionalism had emerged as both a practical and aesthetic style to meet the changing needs of a rapidly modernizing society. Innovative materials and building methods were developed, creating an entirely new architectural language. Juhl worked on The Radio House (Radiohuset) in Copenhagan with Lauritzen, the headquarters of the national Danish broadcast company. Completed in 1945, it is one of the first major works built in Scandinavia in the prevailing functionalist style.

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