Biography

Furniture designer Finn Juhl (b. 1912, Frederiksberg, Denmark; d. 1989, Gentofte Municipality, Denmark) is attributed with introducing modern Danish design to the United States. Juhl was initially interested in studying art history but pivoted to architecture under the influence of his father, a textile wholesaler himself. Juhl studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts before joining the Vilhelm Lauritzen architectural firm in Copenhagen. By 1945, after working on interior design projects at the firm, Juhl had left the firm and opened his own design studio.

 

In 1947, Juhl entered the Tidens Møbler (Furniture of the Time) furniture exposition celebrating Copenhagen’s Furniture Industry Association’s fortieth anniversary. In light of the rapid population increase in Denmark following World War II, a demand for accessible Danish furniture arose. Juhl received an award for the design pieces he produced for an archetypal “bachelor’s apartment” (one of the competition categories commissioned for the exposition). 

  

Juhl arrived at international recognition shortly after the exposition. The following year, Edgar Kaufman Jr., the director of the Industrial Design department at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, encountered Juhl’s work abroad. In 1951, Juhl exhibited at the celebrated Good Design exhibition at the Merchandise Market in Chicago. Juhl’s success continued in the United States, leading him to design the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City in 1951-52.

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