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Finn Juhl – Portfolio

 

Architecture

Although Finn Juhl was a qualified building architect, he never made more than about five houses, two of which were holiday cottages, and a few projects that never got beyond the drawing board. The reason for this might be that Finn Juhl was categorized as a furniture designer rather than an architect. In connection with his employment at the architect Vilhelm Lauritzen’s studio Finn Juhl was involved with the realization of the new Radio House which was finished in 1945. Thereafter, the company won the competition to visualize Copenhagen Airport. In addition to his own house was Finn Juhl was the architect behind the following houses:

The cottage in Asserbo, Denmark, was built in 1950. Characteristic to Finn Juhl, the ground plan was carefully conceived. As in Villa Aubertin the windows are positioned so that the light is utilized in the best possible way, both in the form of large windows facing east, as well as high-level, small windows facing north.

Villa Aubertin was built in 1952 in Nakskov, Denmark, commissioned by timber merchant M. Aubertin and his wife, who were both great admirers of Finn Juhl. They also ordered all built-in interior design and furniture by Finn Juhl. The villa stands as a “total concept” of design and architecture in the same way as Finn Juhl’s own house.

The cottage in Rågeleje, Denmark, was built in 1962. On the outside the house seems simple and unpretentious and beautifully merges into the landscape. Inside, there is an obvious emphasis on detail and most of the furniture is of Finn Juhl’s own design.

 

Interior Design

For Finn Juhl being an architect was not merely about buildings but rather striving to attain a cohenrence between the exterior and the interior design of a building. From 1945-1955 he was a Senior Teacher at the School of Interior Design where he accentuated the importance of interior design.

Finn Juhl’s first extensive interior design project was the Bing & Grondahl store on Amagertorv in Copenhagen in 1946. A notable feature about this store was that the goods were placed on shelves, in cabinets and on tables around the store, making the store look more like an exhibition space than a store. The materials and lighting were carefully considered. For instance, the teak wood for the shelves and tables were oiled but not varnished, whereas it encompassed a matte appearance with a soft surface, as a contrast to the cool and hard porcelain.

During 1948 Finn Juhl designs Sven Schaumans flower shop at Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen.

Finn Juhl’s most prominent interior design job was the complete furnishings of the Trusteeship Council Chamber at UN Headquarters in New York from 1950-1952. With this project Finn Juhl gained great recognition on an international level.

In 1952 Finn Juhl designs the interior of the Georg Jensen store on Fifth Avenue in New York. In addition, he was also the designs the interior of other Georg Jensen stores around the world including Toronto and New Bond Street in London.

In the period from 1955-1961 Finn Juhl designs the furniture company France & Daverkosen’s offices and SAS’ ticket offices in Europe and Asia. He then proceeds to design the interior of the SAS’ DC-8 aircrafts.

In 1960 Finn Juhl furnishes the ambassador’s home in the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington D.C.

See a chronological list of Finn Juhl’s works here.

The UN Council Chamber in New York

The design of the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations Headquarters in New York is today considered an absolute masterpiece of Finn Juhl’s career and the hall stands as a Danish design and architectural treasure . When the United Nations, in 1951, began the building project three Scandinavian architects were selected to design the council chambers. Those were, aside from Finn Juhl, Sven Markelius from Sweden and Arnstein Arneberg from Norway.

In this way Finn Juhl, who was only 38 years-old at the time, performed an all-encompassing design of the chamber ranging from the colorful light boxes of the ceiling and wooden curtains to the wall panels, carpets, lamps and chairs. The characteristics of Finn Juhl’s design is an attention to every detail and at the same time a unified holistic impression. The chamber was ready in 1952 and opened on 27 February the same year.

Along with the expansion of UN members the need for a conference hall with room for multiple attendees increased. Therefore, the interior design of Finn Juhl’s chamber was substantially amended in 1964 and 1977.  Over the years, intensive use has worn the chamber and at the simultaneously two reconstruction projects meant that the design no longer resembled Finn Juhl’s essential design thought. This involved, among other things, that Finn Juhl’s original idea of ​​a horseshoe arrangement of the delegates’ seats around a lowered floor to the Secretariat staff were abandoned. During 2008 The Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Realdania commenced a large-scale renovation of the UN building to bring the Trusteeship Council Chamber, back to its original expression, and restore large parts of Finn Juhl’s original interior.

FN-sal hjemmeside 2
FN sal - hjemmeside

At the same time the hall was arranged to suit a United Nations, which today has nearly four times as many members as in 1945. The Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Realdania raised 18 million. kr. for the funding of the renovation of the UN’s Trusteeship Council Chamber. In June 2012, the furniture architects Thomas Sigsgaard and Kasper Salto won the competition for the design of new furniture for Finn Juhl’s chamber in the UN building. Today, Sigsgaard and Salto’s furniture complements the interior which were created by a young Finn Juhl in the 1950s. The UN contributed by the renovation and modernization of Finn Juhl’s chamber with the renovation of walls, ceilings and floors and as far as possible updating the heating system, air conditioning and other equipment. Furthermore, the UN funded the redesign of the curtain.

The renovation included among others:

A horseshoe-shaped arrangement of the delegates’ chairs around a lowered floor plan, correlating to Juhl’s original design. The original Finn Juhl chair (FJ51), which was designed specifically as a conference chair for the chamber, is being reproduced in a number of 250 pieces. In connection with the renovation project The Danish Arts Foundation Architecture and Design committee issues a design competition where Danish designers compete about creating a new conference table and 20 new secretariat chairs for the chamber. A newly woven curtain, in accordance with Finn Juhl’s design, to cover the windows facing the East River.

Furniture

 

Møbel pic

On Designmuseum Denmark‘s website you can see a complete list of Finn Juhl’s furniture. If you type Finn Juhl in the search box ‘Designer’ you will find 219 results.

Although Finn Juhl was trained as an architect, it was primarily as a furniture designer, he became world famous. With his organic and sculptural furniture design, inspired by the arts, he took part in redefining Denmark as pioneering in the field of Design.

In 1937 Finn Juhl commended the production of his furniture for the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild exhibitions. In this context, Juhl initiated a close collaboration with cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, who, for period of 20 years onwards handcrafted his furniture, amongst these, his most famous chairs the FJ 44, FJ45, FJ46 -chair and Høvdingestolen. Finn Juhl is known for experimenting both with shapes and materials and often challenged the wooden material’s capacity to the limit in his furniture design. Characteristic of these chairs is that most of them were carried out in walnut, teak tree while others were carried out in Cuban mahogany, maple, and rosewood.

Despite the great success of Finn Juhl’s handcraftet furniture, Juhl became an advocate of an industrial production of Danish furniture, and became one of the first Danish designers to produce furniture for industrial production.

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