Exploring the interplay of design and architecture
"I’m not the kind of person who goes and sits by the side of the road, smelling the flowers and waiting for great ideas to come to me."
Bodil Kjær prefers to name the pieces she designs as architectural elements rather than furniture. Her aim was never to create sculptural statements but rather to find functional, economic and aesthetic solutions.
"In my opinion furniture is just elements of architecture and I have always been preoccupied with the idea of ensuring cohesion between buildings and what you put inside them."
Bodil Kjær was an avid traveller, a Danish professor and an architect; she has gained a deep insight into the relationship between design and architecture and therefore has contributed to the landscape of Danish Modern Design principles. Her travels were devoted to exploring methods and materials that could be used to stimulate her ideas for functional furniture systems and work environments.
"The architect's job isn't just about drawing and building but also about influencing, and I think that I've spent much of my life doing just that, and I think it's important to use your influence trying to explain to people why and how."
Born in 1932, Kjær grew up on her family's ancestral farm near Horsens, Denmark where her passion for quality and aesthetics was nurtured along with her respect for nature and interest in the dynamics of society.
After school, Bodil went to England to study architecture but returned to Denmark just a year later where she enrolled in the Frederiksberg technical college and the school of interior design. She was surrounded by the greats and learned from the experts such as Finn Juhl and Jørgen Ditzel.
Springing forward once more to 1960, after a year in the USA, Kjær went back to Denmark and established a studio in Copenhagen, however in 1965 she received a scholarship to further her studies at the royal college of Art and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She then stayed in London until 1979 working as a senior architect, which then led her to open a studio devoted to projects working on residential homes using solar energy in Africa's tropical Zone.
Along with her architectural background combined with furniture design, Kjær views furniture construction purely from a technical perspective intertwined with modern architecture and created with people in mind. She always considers context and designs with this at the forefront of her mind to optimize physical settings.
"I have always been on the side of the user, and I still am, that's what it's really all about. To go out, identify the problem and solve it."