Fauteuil Pélican

Finn Juhl

Fauteuil Pélican

Key figure, Finn Juhl portrays perfectly the golden age of Danish design. From Chieftain armhair to Bone Chair, produced in only twelve copies, the Danish designer and architect pioneered organic and surrounding shapes. He was also a forerunner in distributing series to mainstream market, as early as 1951, with the hand of American distributor Baker.

Architecture background

Like many of his peers, as Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl has first been trained as an archiect. He has worked on majors projects, including Copenhague Airport, while contributing to Vilhelm Lauritzen studio. Busied by too many tasks, he would never finish his cursus in Royal Academy of Arts.

Organic shapes

Since the beginning of 1940’s, he feels the need, through his furniture design, to fulfill both commitments of having a functional role, and his carver approach : « Art has always been my main source of inspiration. I am fascinated by shapes which defy gravity and create visual lightness. »

He measures his own body, and analyses the way it has to be served by the furniture. « Chairs are like beds, made to slip on […] those that allow only one position are bad. » This idea, that furniture has to be beautiful and at humans’ service, has long affected design’s later history.

Serve mankind

This dream of beauty got tangible through his envelopping shapes, in contrast with era’s fashion, headed towards rigid futurism. As a matter of a fact, Pelican Chair impacted strongly his successors’ works.

Art to serve mankind could have been Finn Juhl’s motto. His impact on vintage furniture is prominent, and the concept he initiated has, by its strong simplicity, provided inspiration to many until today.