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Jens Risom celebrating nearly a century of iconic design

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Jens Risom celebrating nearly a century of iconic design

"Comfort vs. function in furniture can be quickly resolved. A well designed sofa settles the question in one sitting" - Jens Risom

Jens Risom


One of the first designers to bring Scandinavian design to America, furniture designer Jens Risom celebrates his 96th birthday today. Mr. Risom came to New York in 1939 after years of study in Copenhagen, including business college. At first Risom found it difficult to find work as a furniture designer, so he turned to textiles. His freelance work landed in the pages of Collier’s “House of Ideas” designed by Edward Durell Stone during the 1939 World’s Fair.

Risom’s journey to iconic designer status began in 1941, when he partnered with Hans Knoll, starting the Hans Knoll Furniture Company in 1942. Fifteen of the first 20 designs in the inaugural catalog were designed by Risom. Some of these designs are still in production today, his chairs of cedar and what was once surplus military webbing are much sought after iconic designs of the mid- 20th century.

Risom Arm Chair 1941

After serving in the US Army during World War II, Risom  briefly returned to Knoll before launching his own studio, Jens Risom Design (JRD) in May of 1946.

His work was popular, he was one of six furniture designers featured in Playboy, and one of Risom’s office chairs was used by Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office

His work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

1961 Playboy photo featuring left to right - George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom.

Sources: DWR, Wikipedia


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