When it comes to true Danish modern furniture design, there is, in my opinion, no one more important than the architect-designer Finn Juhl. He developed a new direction in the established form of classical craftsman-produced furniture made by the likes of Ole Wanscher, Børge Mogensen, and Fritz Henningsen, among others. As opposed to their neoclassical style, Juhl devised pieces with sculptural and organic lines, built with a sensitivity to the beauty of handmade cabinetry.
There were several companies that produced Juhl’s designs, including ones that employed top-of-the-line individual joinery methods as well as ones that used mass-production techniques. Of course the rarity of pieces and the form of manufacture play a large role in pricing Juhl’s work. Naturally the handmade and smaller production run designs command a higher price than the machine-made furnishings produced in bulk. But there is always a touch of craft even in his mass-market pieces, showcasing Juhl’s expertise at creating designs that beckon the client to sit, run his or her hands along the sweeping curves of the arms, and enjoy a chair that perfectly fits the body.
I hesitate to contend that any of Finn Juhl’s designs deserve a low grade, but when you are comparing pieces for their virtues, or lack thereof, the ones he designed for France and Søn (or, as the firm was originally named, France and Daverkosen) occupy the lowest rung of the ladder. They are basic designs, with nothing really outstanding about them. Nice, but, atypically for Juhl, boring. The example pictured here is solid teak, a sturdy and useful chair with a small flash of zing in the curvature of the floating armrest. These types of pieces produced by France and Søn are what Americans came to refer to generically in the 1950s as “Danish modern.” And they are almost indistinguishable from the knockoffs made by other manufacturers.
Appropriate price: $1,500