Are you sure?

You still have in your basket

If you visit Utility Gift, the items in your basket won't carry over to the gift site.

But, they will be waiting here for you if you return in 30 days.

Sign Up To The Utility Newsletter For 10% OFF Your First Order + Free UK Mainland Delivery On Orders Over £50*

  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

"Many thanks Amy for all your help and speed. Great customer service!"

May 25th 2018 | Alice

I really appreciate the support on this replacement... Fantastic customer service and I will be returning for future purchases.

Feb 6th 2018 | Ben

I just wanted to thank you very much for all your help - it was a pleasure dealing with you and your service has been excellent.

Jun 7th 2018 | Niall

I am very impressed by the efficiency of your service and your excellent returns policy. It is so pleasant to deal with such a customer focused website.

Apr 10th 2018 | Sara

Thank you, the delivery went smoothly and the stools have been unpacked and checked - all good! We are really happy with them, fantastic product.

Dec 21st 2016 | Peter

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 2015 | Sarah

Thank you so much our order arrived safely yesterday beautifully packaged.

Mar 27th 2017 | Simon

I wanted to say thank you for a brilliant service. You have saved me a great deal of hassle.

Dec 18th 2016 | Mia

Thanks for being so incredibly efficient.

Oct 4th 2016 | Fiona

I wanted to send a little note to say a big Thank You to you! I really appreciate all your help and assurance.

Jul 23rd 2016 | Joy

What a wonderful service I've received from everyone at Utility. Helpful, friendly and very efficient - thank you so much.

May 20th 2018 | Cliff

Thank you for your help on this Julie. Everything has gone very smoothly as a result of your help and it is appreciated given the sensitive nature of the project – this is a massive moment for our client and they are very happy!

Jun 6th 2018 | Interior Architecture Firm

Many thanks for the speedy resolution of the issue. The process went as I would have wished and your colleagues have been very quick to respond to all queries - it couldn't have gone better! Thank you!

Jun 1st 2018 | Jemima

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 23rd 2018 | Jason

My wife and I have had multiple orders from you and are now well known to DPD; they have special arrangements with us to ensure safe delivery. Thank you once again for all the care and attentiveness that you have shown.

Jun 4th 2018 | James

Just had my Kartell glossy table delivered. Absolutely thrilled. Your delivery men were a delight, courteous & friendly.

Jun 15th 2018 | Cassie

Thanks for your help today on the live chat - great service!

Jun 26th 2018 | George

Thanks so much to Amy and Grace for sorting out my price match. The customer service from Utility Design has been great every time I've shopped. Keep it up!

Jul 3rd 2018 | Leah

The bench arrived and even though it was a tough wait, we are thrilled! Many thanks to you and everyone who helped us and your patience.

Sep 12th 2018 | Barbara & Frazer

This is without a doubt one of the most helpful sites I've ever visited. Thank you very much!

Sep 14th 2018 | Debra

"Your services have been so superb and faultless, cant thank you enough!"

Jan 18th 2019 | Chloe

You have been so helpful, I really appreciate it. The level of service and knowledge is unusual.

Jan 25th 2019 | Charles