Designs for the Exposición
Internacional de Barcelona

by Kaare Klint

The reception room at the Danish pavilion.
Photo: photographer unknown, 1929. Reproduced from Kaare Klint by Gorm Harkær

In 1929 architect Tyge Hvass was charged with designing the Danish national pavilion for the Exposición Internacional de Barcelona. The resulting stucco building was painted red with whitewashed edges reminiscent of the traditional Danish homes found in the fishing port of Skagen. Inside, Kaare Klint designed the furniture for the reception room. For seating, Klint utilized a design created three years prior—the Red chair—which was conceived in 1927 for the lecture hall of the Danish Museum of Art & Design and named for the reddish tone of its goatskin upholstery. Several of these chairs and custom sofas lined the room and surrounded a large sectional table. During the exposition, representatives of the Spanish press gathered around the table and enjoyed dried cod from the Faroe Islands. Other works by Danish masters were also showcased in the reception room, including paintings by Johannes Larsen and Fritz Syberg and lighting designed by Poul Henningsen. Although all were initially designed for other projects, due to the success and publicity of the exposition, the chairs, table and sofas utilized in the interior are to this day, widely acknowledged as Barcelona furniture. 

The Danish national pavilion designed by Tyge Hvass.
Photo: DNAL, Col./photographer unknown, 1929. Reproduced from Kaare Klint by Gorm Harkær

Kaare Klint 1888–1954

Recognized as the father of Danish furniture design, Kaare Klint was born in Copenhagen in 1888 to the family of architect Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint. While in his younger years he studied painting, he eventually apprenticed as a furniture maker, attended technical school, Jens Møller-Jensens furniture school, and the Artists' Studio Schools in Copenhagen. In 1914, at just 26 years old, Klint designed Denmark’s first modern design classic, the Faaborg Chair, for the Faaborg Museum in collaboration with his mentor and fellow architect Carl ‘Calle’ Petersen. Following the wide acclaim for his early designs, he received several other commissions for museums including the Thorvaldsens Museum and the Danish Museum of Decorative Art in Copenhagen.