Modern Ways of Working
Bodil Kjær's Iconic 'Working Table'
Bodil Kjær is an architect, designer and city planner who is best known for the refined, modern office furniture she designed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Early in her career, she designed furniture and interiors for buildings by luminaries such as Marcel Breuer and Paul Rudolph, both of whom inspired Kjær's penchant for clean lines and direct forms with an erudite assuredness. Her first designs were featured in interiors at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College.
Kjær was driven to design desks because she felt that their forms had not been thoughtfully updated to fit the “open, creative and flexible” ways people began working in offices in the 1950s. The desk in the present suite is often referred to as the “James Bond desk” (though, it was originally called a 'working table' by Kjær) due to it being featured in three Bond films. It was originally designed for offices at MIT. The desk received accolades for its clarity and elegance; it also allowed for flexible additions so that individuals could choose the arrangement that best fit their needs.
I often ran into problems of finding furniture that would express the same form-ideas as those we employed in the buildings we designed and which would, at the same time, express the ideas of contemporary management. The office furniture I found on the market in 1959, I found to be clumsy and confining, while neither the new architecture nor the new management thinking was the least bit clumsy or confining.