Danish Design in the mid-1900s

Denmark has played a large role in the development of Scandinavian design focusing mostly on the simplicity and functionality of their designs. With widespread globalization, Danish influence can be seen in Ikea products, kitchen wares, audio, lighting, furniture, and even in the Sydney Opera House. The largest surge in modern Danish design came post World War 2 in the 1940’s and 1950’s. During this time, some of the most iconic Danish brands exploded, including Bodum, Louis Poulsen, Fritz Hansen, and Bang & Olufsen audio.

Typically, Danish design focuses on a simple and clean design alongside the functionality of it’s designs. A good example of this is Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 chair, the most copied chair in the world, which is simply a solid sheet of plywood bent to shape with polished steel legs. It’s easy to manufacture with very few parts, and it’s beauty comes from it’s minimalistic design. Along with the 7 series chair, Jacobsen designed the iconic Egg chair.

7 series

Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair


Egg Chair

Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair


Designer Poul Henningsen along with Louis Poulsen designed the PH series lamps, the iconic artichoke lamp, and a personal favorite, the snowball lamp. These lights aim to diffuse light in a unique way that manages to avoid glare. Many modern scandinavian lighting fixtures are variations of these, some using opaque plastic in intricate weaves in order to produce a soft light.

PH lamp

Poul Henningsen’s PH 5+ Lamp



Louis Poulsen’s Artichoke Lamp



Poul Henningsen’s Snowball Lamp


The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia is designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and is another example of the Danish aesthetic. The building parallels the design of the Louis Poulsen lamps with it’s white “shell” exterior. It uses relatively simple geometric shapes and lines to create a deceptively unique and clean looking building that has managed to become a defining image of Australia.

18727 D

Sydney Opera House


More examples of Danish design:

The 10 Most Iconic Pieces Of Danish Design

Aesthetics Exploration, Danish, Denmark
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Kenzy O'neill
    January 24, 2016 9:25 pm

    I hadn’t realized until reading your post that many of the designs around me are Danish or influenced by Danish design, quite eye opening. This got me wondering how such a small country such as Denmark could influence style in such a large way on the other side of the world. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is a really interesting aesthetic. I never really realized how much Denmark influenced design, not to mention architecture. Pretty cool how much this aesthetic has permeated the world of interior design so thoroughly.


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