Global Celebrations for Finn Juhl Centennial
by Ian Volner | Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Danish designer Finn Juhl achieved something like the modernist apotheosis of self-subtraction: over a nearly five-decade career, he pioneered and popularized that reflexively modest, sublimely simple style known on these shores as Danish modern. Juhl is broadly credited as the chief exponent of Danish design in America, and over the years—as his elegant credenzas and chairs filled up the homes of mid-century families (and later, of mid-century enthusiasts)—Juhl himself came to be lost behind his work, and behind the scads of imitators who followed him.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of his birth year, simultaneous happenings on three continents are bringing Juhl and his personal contribution to design history back to the fore. Starting February 28 in Shinjuku, Japan, exhibition space Ozone Tower Gallery 1 will host a new exhibition, ”The Universe of Finn Juhl,” set to include such emblematic pieces from the designer’s oeuvre as his Poet Sofa and Jean Arp-inspired Pelican Chair. At the same time, in the Japanese town of Gifu, the local Finn Juhl Art Museum Club will construct a life-sized replica of Finn Juhl’s personally designed house in Ordrup, Denmark.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., one of Juhl’s best-known interiors, the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations, will be getting a full revamp. Slated for completion in January 2013, the renovation is being carried out by Danish designers Kasper Salto and Thomas Sigsgaard; video of the restoration is available online.
Finally, in a fitting homecoming, a birthday party will be held in Juhl’s honor in the museum that was once his private home—the real one, that is, not the Japanese model.
Images from top: The planned renovation for the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations by Kasper Salto and Thomas Sigsgaard. The original Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations by Finn Juhl. Juhl’s Pelican Chair. Juhl’s Poet Sofa.