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$ 15,105

Phillip Arctander “Clam” Chair, Denmark 1940s

Documentation Documented elsewhere (similar item)
Origin Denmark
Period 1920-1949
Materials Breech, Sheepskin
W. 15.55 in; H. 30.71 in; D. 35.83 in;
W. 39.5 cm; H. 78 cm; D. 91 cm;
Seat H. 12.99 in;
Seat H. 33 cm;
Condition Good. Item has recently been re-upholstered in premium sheepskin. The legs have holes that have profesionally been restored.
Creation Date 1940s
Description This “Clam” chair has a unique history and a beloved design thanks to which, this model is considered by some as one of the most attractive chairs of “Nordic Design”. The model was designed by the Danish architect Phillip Arctander in 1944.

This chair has a characteristic organic shape with soft curves, perched on club-shaped beech legs. The name comes from the shape of the seat and back that together form the silhouette of an open clam. The round armrests compliment the overall round feel of the chair. As a basic principle of Danish design, functionality and comfort do not fall short behind the visual appearance. The seat is slightly raised towards the front, while the back is tilted back to provide great sitting comfort. The seat and back are covered in cappuccino-coloured sheepskin, adding to the soft and cosy feel of this “Clam”.

In 1944, the chair was already exhibited in conjunction with the presentation of the newly opened furniture store NY FORM A/S in Copenhagen, which sold leading design of the day. Phillip Arctander, the designer of the chair is an oddity, in the sense that he was not associated with design besides this chair model. This could be one of the reasons why the chair has a long history of misattributions. Since 2013, the true identity of the designer and the chair came to light and the value of the Clam has been finally realised.

About the designer:
Danish architect Philip Arctander graduated from Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole (the School of Architecture) in Copenhagen and worked as an independent architect from 1939 to 1947. It was this early period during which he designed the handful of furniture that are known today to have come from his hand. He then became head of research and subsequently director of the Danish Building Research Institute (SBI), where, among other things, he was an adviser to the United Nations on construction and housing issues.

Thanks to the meticulous research done by Bruun Rasmussen, there is now reliable information available on the history of the Clam chair and Arctander. According to their research, in an article in “Nyt tidskrift for Kunstindustri” (New Periodical on Decorative Art) in 1944, it was reported that, in connection with its opening, NY FORM A/S had asked six designers to come up with ideas for a furniture competition, one of them Philip Arctander. A later issue of the magazine tells us that all the furniture from the competition was displayed in the store.

This is also evident from the Danish design magazine “LP-nyt” – in which a rare version of the “Clam chair” without armrests appears. The same version is also seen in the Swedish magazine “Form” in 1947, in an article about the home of a Danish engineer. The more common version with armrests and a similar sofa appeared in the Danish magazine “Bygge & Bo” (build and live) from 1945, in an ad for Nordisk Staal & Møbel Central (Nordic Steel & Furniture Central). All of these sources confirm that the “Clam chair” is Danish and designed by Philip Arctander. The chair remains loved today for its extreme comfort and beautifully playful appearance. ~H.
Styles / Movements Mid Century, Modern
Dealer Reference Number 20190318
Incollect Reference Number 365441
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