Børge Mogensen (1914 - 1972)
In 1972, when Børge Mogensen died, the design world was shocked. He was widely regarded as an idealistic, prolific designer, and age 58, it was considered that he still had so much to give to the world of design. A firm believer in the concept of 'design for all', he helped to provide thousands of Danes with quality furniture at affordable prices. His designs have proved enduringly popular, and can be found in homes across the world.
After training at Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts, he was accepted onto a programme at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, taught by Kaare Klint. As part of his studies, he researched the everyday lifestyles of hundreds of people in order to develop items of furniture that were customised for specific purposes. This was a revolutionary approach to design - users of these objects were no longer required to adapt their behaviours to fit their furniture. Suddenly, furniture was adaptable to the needs of the user.
"My goal is to create items that serve people and give them the leading role, instead of forcing them to adapt to the items."
Modest yet with an air of self-confidence, Mogensen had an artistic temperament but had a practical approach to design. Instead of favouring trends, Mogensen's style of furniture rarely differed from the simple, unpretentious style for which he was known. Working with refined materials like oak, leather and brass, he was praised for his sense of proportion and use of material.
In 1948, Mogensen had participated in the Museum of Modern Art's international furniture competition called 'Low Cost Furniture' alongside designers such as Hans J. Wegner. Truly inspired by what he saw, he aimed to fuse ideas from the modernist movement with his own signature style. This kick-started his own business idea, and in 1950, he opened a private design office, later receiving the Eckersberg Medal.
In 1952, he collaborated with Andreas Graversen, an interior architect. The two had a similar philosophy, wishing to create simple, high quality furniture that could benefit the masses. When in 1955, Graversen acquired Fredericia, it was the beginning of a professional relationship that would last for decades. Mogensen was asked to create an entirely new collection of furniture for the company.
Over fifty years after his death, Mogensen's enduring designs are still extremely popular, produced by Hay and Fredericia. You can find Børge Mogensen's designs at Utility.
Hero image credit : © Børge Mogensens Tegnestue