Photo: rocket gallery Chair U431
Here's another classic chair that fell out of fashion and now, happily, is back.
Jens Risom was at the peak of his success in the 1950's. His slogan for his work: The Answer is Risom. Now, at 94 years old, the Danish-born American still has that designing spirit and has worked closely with a London gallery to re-issue 9 pieces of his simple, American-style Scandinavian furniture.This first collection of nine pieces has been a labour of love involving a London Gallery, Rocket, and a furniture company that does handmade pieces. There has been close involvement with Risom himself, who is still hale and hearty and was delighted to see his work in demand again: "England has always been very close to my heart, in part because there was always more acceptance of modern design there than here in my own country."
Jens Risom was born in Copenhagen in 1916 and moved to the USA in 1941, looking for new markets for his furniture designing.
He acknowledged what a tough slog it was to get going in the American market, and how naive he had been: "I came here without really knowing how impossible it was for a furniture designer to get going, because there was no furniture design in the United States. There was no acceptance of contemporary design or architecture. It's true, there was nothing going on at that time. You could have looked for a furniture designer and you wouldn't have found one. I was very, very early and it was fortunate."
He worked for Knoll and later established his own company, JRD Design where he designed and closely supervised the manufacturing process. He said: "I set out to design contemporary furniture that was comfortable and practical to use. I developed an American version of Scandinavian modern furniture." By the time he sold the company in 1970 it was the third largest in the USA.
The pieces are very functional but still elegant. They have a definite Scandinavian influence but it's combined with American modernism. With the number of original pieces declining, this is a great chance to celebrate the design and reputation of an old master.