Are you sure?

You still have in your basket

If you continue to our gift website, these items will not be present in your new Utility Gift basket.s in your basket won't carry over to the gift site.

However, your Utility Design shopping basket will be saved here for 30 days should you wish to return to it.

Sign Up To The Utility Newsletter For 10% OFF Your First Order

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. The Story of Nanna Ditzel & The Trinidad Chair

The Story of Nanna Ditzel & The Trinidad Chair

An extraordinary life

In 1993 and at the age of seventy, Nanna Ditzel presented her one-woman show at Milan for the first time. There on display was the Trinidad Chair, a plywood chair featuring a cut out designed back, produced in partnership with Danish brand Fredericia. The moment had been almost fifty years in the making.

When she started designing professionally in 1946, Ditzel was a recent graduate of the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. Here she had perfected her trade – studying the intricacies of design that qualified her to set up a studio with her husband. Together they worked on interior environments – becoming well known for multi-level floor seating that they described as ‘stairscapes’. By removing the legs and providing height through the 'stairs', chairs were reimagined, and rooms could be transformed. Ditzel's furniture had a sense of childlike imagination, designed to be exciting for the user. In 1959, Nanna and husband Jørgen created the Hanging Egg Chair - a critically acclaimed design that became instantly recognisable. The sense of playfulness in her work was still very much apparent, and allowed her to explore form as well as material.

Soon Ditzel turned her hand to children’s furniture, creating items such as the Toadstool (1962), a versatile table and stool that was lightweight and colourful. If turned on its side, it would satisfyingly spin across the floor - for children of all ages, it was an absolute delight. It was through this forward-thinking and fun design philosophy that Ditzel won a contract to design the furniture of the Lyngby Children’s Library, using soft yet durable fabrics in primary colours that encouraged the imagination - an ideal space for learning.

After her husband’s death, Nanna worked with Danish textile company Kvadrat, and created the ever popular fabric, Hallingdal. Given the freedom to create a showroom to display her work, she was able to showcase her favourite colours: turquoise and pink, as well as display her interest in texture and structure. Shortly after, she remarried and moved to north London where she set up Interspace with her new husband – their design studio quickly received an international reputation.


1986 was a reflective year for Ditzel. After the death of her second husband, she returned to Copenhagen. The Trinidad Chair was borne of happy memories past - inspired by the elaborate frameworks of the colonial Gingerbread Facades on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Gently playing with the sunlight, the facades cast intricate shadows across verandahs, encouraging airflow and regulating room temperature. Transplanted onto a chair, this cut-out feature ensures lightness in weight, as well as allowing acoustic flow around a room.

“On Trinidad I saw how the facades of the houses nearly dissolves in light and shadow – almost like a lace – and I thought to myself: How can I use this for a chair?” 

The Trinidad Chair was a success, and for many, seems like a symbol of Ditzel's ability to adapt to the times. It was an instant hit for furniture manufacturer Fredericia, and has been a great commercial success for both domestic and public use. In 1998, Nanna Ditzel was awarded the lifelong artist's grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture, and in 2000, she was awarded the Danish Design Prize. When she died in 2005, she was regarded as one of Europe's finest designers, and leaves a legacy that will continue to affect industrial design into the future.

See the Trinidad Chair
See the Fredericia Collection

Time for more? Liverpool Focus : OUTPUT Gallery | Designer of the Month : Alvar Aalto | Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion |

Next Working Day Delivery

View UK delivery options

Delivering to 150 Countries

View delivery options

Thank You Messages

I have rarely experienced such excellent quality advice, support and reliability. Your staff communicate effectively and helpfully. I am a truly satisfied customer. I love my String Shelving and I will not hesitate to return to Utility for my next purchase. Thank you!

Oct 24th 2019 | Sarah

Your customer service has been fantastic. I'm seriously impressed. Really pleased to be able to place the bigger order and make your time worthwhile. I think I need to send you a medal!

May 19th 2019 | Jason

I just wanted to express my thanks again for your great customer service. I ordered my items less than 24 hours ago and I’ve amended my order- yet I still have my order here with me now. You went out of your way to deliver my order and I’m very grateful. I wish more places had people like you :-)

May 14th 2019 | Louise

Thanks so much for your extraordinary service. -

Jun 19th 2019 | Maria (US)

Thanks again for such amazing customer service - I have honestly been so impressed by everything! Thank you for doing such a wonderful job

Jun 19th 2019 | Amber

Excellent customer service and immediate response to enquiry (live chat). Very happy every time used Utility both online and on high street.

Jun 28th 2019 | Jo

I couldn't be happier with the custom made sofa bought through the online store. It is perfect and made all the more enjoyable by buying it through the guys at utility. Ben and Paul who delivered the sofa were amazing, kind and really helpful in a difficult situation (of course the lift broke when I was getting something delivered). Would highly recommend!

Aug 13th 2019 | Holly

Just wanted to message and say that I'm a big fan of the Utility Stores and the types of products you guys sell. I work close by to the Manchester store at University Green, so I'm popping in a fair bit generally for cards, gifts, etc. I just nipped in again this afternoon about one product I'd bought earlier and the staff were super helpful and attentive. It made it really easy, and I was in and out in no time.

Aug 13th 2019 | Richard

Just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to say how happy I am with the service I have had. Especially the two guys who delivered/carried into an awkward space/built/then took away the packaging, not to mention then gave me a lift into town. Thank you. Plus the sofa looks amazing. I will definitely be using you guys more in the future and will highly recommend you to anyone who will listen.

Sep 13th 2019 | Luke

Thank you for all your help and customer service, the Eames Lounge Chair arrived yesterday and I love it.

Nov 1st 2019 | Ross

Comment: I just wanted to say that Esther on the checkout in the L1 store made my day today she was so friendly

Dec 9th 2019 | Katy