Monday, December 13, 2010

The Modern and Traditional Designs of Fritz Henningsen!

From one Henningsen to the next! As you may remember, we posted about Poul Henningsen, a great figure in the world of Danish and modern design, who wowed design lovers everywhere with his gorgeous light fixtures that looked like nothing that had come before them. Today's Henningsen-Fritz, to be exact-is a bit more of a mystery than last post's more flamboyant one, but is no less influential.

Unlike Poul, Fritz was not a lighting designer; rather he created gorgeous furniture pieces that carried the hallmarks of Danish design perfectly. Also unlike other designers, Fritz didn't experiment with a ton of different styles or designs; he found some elements that he felt worked, and ran with those, creating a body of work that is instantly recognizable and much-loved.

First up are his distinct couch and chair designs. Sleek seat lines mingle with sharply angled-yet still curved-back, arm and wing shapes, creating furniture pieces that are both modern and traditional. Many of his couch and chairs seem to favor leather as a material, and this helps warm up any modern coldness of the shape. And those curves tended to play an important part in balancing out many of his seat shapes; we do spot a number of couches and chairs that do feature nothing but straight lines.

While his seating designs are exquisite, he did make more than just chairs. We think his wood case goods tended to favor a more traditional route than modern. His tables, credenzas and small storage pieces had mostly straight lines, but just have that "traditional" appearance, though he did eschew ornamentation mostly. Overall his pieces just had a great transitional feel to them, able to bridge the gap between ultra modern Danish design and more traditional furniture design.

Born just at the turn of the century, Fritz had a reputation for being a great cabinetmaker and furniture maker, and his work was hailed as being some of the highest in terms of craftsmanship. He was known for his use of exotic woods and every piece that carries his name was absolutely made by hand, usually by methods he carried with him from past years' traditional methods.

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