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Peter Hvidt & Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen "X" Chair, Denmark 1950 - 1960

Documentation Documented elsewhere (similar item)
Origin Denmark
Period 1950-1979
Materials Mahogany bentwood, Compressed wooden inlay
Dimensions
W. 22.44 in; H. 28.94 in; D. 26.38 in;
W. 57 cm; H. 73.5 cm; D. 67 cm;
Seat H. 13.39 in;
Seat H. 34 cm;
Condition Good. In beautiful vintage condition. The wood has minor marks and scratches. The front left leg has an old chip.
Creation Date 1950s
Description This easy chair is the Danish designer duo’s famous “FH6135” model, commonly referred to as the “X-Chair”. The name derives from the distinctive X-shaped side frames of the chair. This detail contributes to the flowing, unbroken lines of the side view.

The form of the bentwood side frames is an important detail, as Hvidt and Mølgaard-Nielsen developed a specific method of building up layers of laminate around a solid core, in this case in mahogany with inlays of bird’s eye wood. The seat and back are comprised of the original, neatly woven cane, giving the chair an organic look. At the same time, the patinated brass crossbars provide a modern touch.

Another recognisable feature is the pair of stretchers set parallel both between the front and back legs. A third stretcher, slightly bent, holds together the two side sections of the frame. The most distinct example of this type of lamination is this model that was designed for Fritz Hansen in 1959. The manufacturer, Fritz Hansen - the specialist of laminate wood – developed the technique called ‘steam bending’, which ultimately led it to become the world leader in the field.

About the designer:

Hvidt & Mølgaard was a Copenhagen-based, Danish design and architectural firm which existed from 1944 until 2009. Founded by Peter Hvidt (1916-1986) and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen (1907-1993), the company was a pioneering force in Danish furniture design and industrialized production in the 1950s, creating furniture that was easy to mass-produce and economic to transport.

Danish architect-designer Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen was born in 1907. His formative years were spent in Copenhagen, studying at the Aalborg Technical School and at the Art and Crafts School of the Design Museum (graduating in 1928). From 1931 until 1934, he continued his studies in furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts under the instruction of Danish master Kaare Klint (1888-1954). Peter Hvidt was born in Copenhagen in 1916. He studied architecture and cabinetry at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. Subsequently, he worked at various design firms before establishing his own studio in 1942.

In 1944, Hvidt designed the Portex Chair, which was one of Denmark’s first stacking chairs. Hvidt, whose design aesthetic was characterized as traditional throughout the 1940s, exhibited frequently at the Cabinetmaker's Guild exhibitions, as both a designer and architect.

In 1944, the pair co-established Hvidt & Mølgaard Studio, which they ran together until 1975. During this time, the pair created designs for Fritz Hansen, France & Søn, and Søborg Møbelfabrik. In 1950, the pair designed the AX Chair, which solidified both of their careers as industrial designers and became an icon of Danish mid-century design. It was the first Danish chair that was crafted with both a seat and back made of curved laminated wood.

From the 1970s, Hvidt & Mølgaard focused on architectural projects, which spanned office buildings and factories, as well as collective housing projects. They were known for their light, simple, and clear designs, which were carried out with precision. Both Hvidt and Mølgaard-Nielsen retired in 1975, designing over 256 pieces of furniture together over the course of their careers. Their work can be found at New York’s MoMA, the National Gallery in Melbourne, and the Danish Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen. ~H.
Styles / Movements Mid Century, Modern, Scandinavian Modern
Book References Illums Bolighus: Center of Modern Design, distributor's catalog, 1961. Den store danske møbelguide, Per H. Hansen & Klaus Petersen, Denmark 2013, p. 119.
Dealer Reference Number 20200373
Incollect Reference Number 371132
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