Danish design history as 'flowing chapters of heritage'

Tan Weiyun
A home decor exhibition on Danish designs over the past century is now on at Studio 9, a newly opened art and creative space for original home design furniture in Shanghai.
Tan Weiyun
Danish design history as 'flowing chapters of heritage'
Ti Gong

The exhibition "Flowing Chapters of Heritage" presents the design history of Denmark from 1920 to 2022.

A home decor exhibition that casts light on Danish design over the past century is on at Studio 9, a newly opened art and creative space for original home design furniture on Yuyao Road in downtown Shanghai.

The exhibition, titled "Flowing Chapters of Heritage," takes visitors through the design history of Denmark from 1920 to 2022, and weaves together a retrospective of classic designs from Danish design brands – Hay, &Tradition, Verpan, and Frandsen.

The Scandinavian country and China share something in common in design history. With people-oriented mindsets, they both adhere to the principles of fusing tradition and modernity, respect craftsmanship and natural materials, and attempt to strike a balance between functionality and product value. This proximity creates opportunities for design and artistic expression in reality.

The chapter "Carpenters and Modernity" (1920s-1950s) honors Danish design's naturalness, simplicity, functionality and aesthetic.

The lounge chair "Little Petra," initially introduced in 1938, was one of just a few designs by architect Viggo Boesen, who became associated with Denmark's signature design aesthetics in the 1930s called "funkis style," distinguished by a softer, more abundant, organic aesthetic that challenged the minimalistic approach of Bauhaus.

Named after Boesen's mother-in-law, "Little Petra" is indeed surprisingly petite, able to fit into all kinds of spaces, interiors and environments. Low to the ground, open and embracing, it embodies the essence of a lounge chair, allowing for all kinds of seating positions in any cozy setting imaginable.

A lot of work has gone into ensuring the utmost comfort, from the seat to the upholstery. Respecting Boesen's love of natural materials, the legs of the chair have been crafted in oak or walnut.

Danish design brand, &Tradition, reworks this design icon from the past master, and brings this forgotten furniture piece back to life.

The 1960s-1990s era was for the possibilities of new materials and forms, when the world saw a post-war cultural boom. Society changed, and so did design trends, which evolved beyond the fundamental needs of problem solving, adding a more spiritual and human dimension.

Danish designers explored new forms of functionalist design based on new synthetic and lightweight materials. As a result, abstract, organic, technical and high-quality products emerged, developing a humane, warm and welcoming modem aesthetics.

Designed by Danish architect Verner Panton in 1969, the "Cloverleaf" sofa design stands out as one of his most unique works – sculptural, organic aesthetics and functional qualities combined in a modular sofa offering unlimited possibilities of the forms.

As one of the most prominent and innovative designers active during the second half of the 20th century, Panton had a special sense of color, shape, light function and space. He created an extensive and multifaceted oeuvre which showed his preference for mostly bold colors and his skillful play with basic geometric forms and figures.

Danish design history as 'flowing chapters of heritage'
Ti Gong

The Cloverleaf sofa takes center-stage in Verpan's area.

When it comes to the 21st century, a new generation of Danish designers, who are both rooted in tradition and influenced by a universal culture, push the boundaries of used and new materials, methods and forms, while upholding simplicity and functionality.

Amid a changing lifestyle, their creations in this new era have been going beyond the aesthetically beautiful and useful objects, containing profound ideas and interpretations of contemporary life, spatial contexts and cultural meanings.

"About A Chair" by Hay is a chair collection with an utmost simplicity in its design launched in 2010. With its contoured seating, the modern dining chair strikes the ideal balance between function and form, making it a popular choice for many different-style interiors.

In addition to the exhibition, visitors can get closer to more designs, both classic and modern, such as &Tradition's classic Flowerpot collection in a new and special installation, Verpan's fun-filled oversized Moon pendant, a preview of Frandsen's iconic Ball series in new colors, and the launch of Hay's first book to celebrate the brand's 20th anniversary.

A showroom, gallery and multi-brand shop, Studio 9 is also a community for architects, designers, and design enthusiasts to hold regular exhibitions, lectures, forums and panels on lifestyle topics, while enjoying coffee and snacks in the onsite café.

If you go:

Hours: 10am-9pm

Address: 55 Yuyao Rd

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