duendepr.com actualité Bodil Kjær Reintroduction 2018

Bodil Kjær Reintroduction 2018


Danish architect and designer, Bodil Kjær designed The Desk (photo above) in 1959 which has become an icon of popular culture (thanks to James Bond) together with the Cross vase and other of her minimalist designs. Between 1955 and 1963, she developed a series of “ELEMENTS OF ARCHITECTURE” to solve problems of functional and aesthetic nature. The objects were among others specified by Marcel Breuer and Jose Luis Sert and were in production in USA, Sweden and Denmark. The majority of these furniture, lamps and glass have not been in production for 40 years but are now being relaunched by Carl Hansen & Son, Holmegaard, Karakter Copenhagen, Schwinn, Made a Mano and Illums Bolighus. During last Milan Design Week,  FORM PORTFOLIOS * and the different manufacturers came together at Palazzo Litta in a celebration of Bodil Kjær’s life long work with design and architecture showcasing a great variety of her work to display both indoor and outdoor furniture, lighting and decorative objects in diverse materials such as wood, acrylics, leather and glass. Bodil Kjaer curated the display. Elements of architecture catalog here. 

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BODIL KJÆR (1932–) Danish Architect MAA and Professor. Educated in Denmark, England and the USA, and practiced as an architect, designer and planner from own offices in Copenhagen and London. While designing public interiors, Bodil Kjær developed a series of elements of architecture to solve problems of functional and aesthetic nature. These pieces of furniture, lamps and glass were not designed directly for production, but as other architects discovered them and wanted them for their buildings, they were put into production and marketed in the USA as well as in Europe.


Early on, architects including Jose Luis Sert and Paul Rudolph, the heads of the schools of architecture at Harvard and Yale universities, respectively, as well as Marcel Breuer and Harry Weese discovered Bodil Kjær’s designs and specified them for their buildings. Bodil Kjær worked in teams of engineers, sociologists and organization planners to create healthy and flexible work environments for employees in factories, offices and universities throughout the world. She is well known for her emphasis on user involvement in the planning process, which she practiced with engineers at Arups in London for Oxford and Cambridge universities, for Penguin Books and for IBM in England, and with Italian engineers for among others Alfa Romeo and Rank Xerox. She later become a tenured professor of architecture at the University of Maryland and lectured in Denmark, England and the USA.


Holmegaard – Vases Crosses (1961). Introducing the Crosses vase – a beautiful, hand-blown vase by Danish designer Bodil Kjær, who created the vase for Holmegaard. The vase can either stand alone or be used to hold a stunning display of freshly picked flowers in water. This vase stands 195 cm tall, but is also available in other sizes and colours, including a clear hand-blown glass version.


Carl Hansen – Indoor/Outdoor Line (1959). The Indoor-Outdoor series (Dining Chair, Dining Table, Lounge Chair, Lounge table, Sun Bed, Swing (bench) and two-seater Bench) radiates both warmth and precision in an elegantly clear form. The lounge chair’s inclined, slatted seat and back are stretched between two squares formed by armrests, legs and runners that are mortised together – a detail requiring great skill and craftsmanship. The tables, lounge sofa and swing sofa feature the same geometric principle. The sunbed has a continuous, slatted seat and an adjustable back. The dining chair design is based on the same principle as the lounge chair, but with a more open backrest construction.


“Back in 1959, when I designed the furniture, there was not a great deal of focus on the aesthetics of outdoor furniture in the USA. Outdoor furniture mainly consisted of free-standing objects totally unrelated to contemporary architecture. I, on the other hand, saw furniture as an architectural element whose size should relate to the surrounding spaces. In the same vein, outdoor furniture should relate to the format of buildings. Outdoor spaces basically need furniture of a certain size to achieve a harmonious whole,” explains Kjær, who took her Scandinavian approach to design to the USA in 1957.


Today, the furniture continues to radiate Kjær’s intended spirit, with materials, joints and a construction built to last. The only change is the pieces’ height, which has been adjusted to accommodate modern human proportions. All seats, chairs and beds can be supplied with slender cushions made from weather-resistant Sunbrella fabric.

9904_Cross-Plex - T-300

Lightyears/Fritz Hansen Cross-Plex Lamp (1963). The 2 versions of the Cross-Plex™ lamp reflect Bodil Kjær’s philosophy of not merely designing but creating solutions and solving problems. The lamp was conceived after Kjær burnt some newspapers on lit candles at her home; The solution was to design a lamp that could substitute the use of candles whilst bringing the same kind of ‘Hygge’to the room. The Cross-Plex™ lamp is a true example of Bodil Kjaer’s functionalistic approach to design with its clean-cut and straight lines. The base in clear acrylic glass is shaped like a cross and constructed as a puzzle, leaving the exact amount of space needed for the cord to ascend in the centre where it perfectly meets the socket. The cubic shade is formed from opal acrylic glass and when seen in profile, the table lamp almost looks like a miniature building with the opal shade representing an illuminated roof – touching upon aesthetics of big-city nightlife and international hotel interiors.

Bodil Kjær Desk, red frame Pack 02ok

Karakter Copenhagen - Desk (1959) . The iconic desk, designed in 1959, was the first of its kind with its pure and simplistic design, almost floating mid-air. Bodil Kjærs’ design has been called ‘The most beautiful desk in the world’ – or, the ‘James Bond desk’ as it was featured prominently in three early Bond movies.

Bodil Kjær. Designer.

* FORM PORTFOLIOS FORM PORTFOLIOS  manages and protects design rights of designers and their heirs. FORM is dedicated to building the legacies of its designers, protecting intellectual property and creating partnerships with select manufacturers to reintroduce pieces as originally designed and to the highest quality standards. FORM has the rights to all of the works of Danish designer Bodil Kjær, American designer Paul McCobb and Danish-American designer Jens Risom. FORM has offices in Providence, USA and Copenhagen, Denmark.