The return of France

An English furniture pioneer named France had success in Denmark – and this was the starting point for Danish furniture industry’s global triumph from 1950s and onwards. This seems a plausible explanation for Danish furniture’s international reputation – and you get it here:

Mr. C.W.F. France went to Denmark in the 1930s in order to produce mattresses, but during the German occupation of Denmark, he was interned in captivity. There, he had plenty of time to come up with new business ideas, and one of them was to produce design furniture by the so-called knock-down principle that makes it possible to produce the furniture by industrial methods, and not least to transport them to a fraction of current costs.

After the war, France started collaboration with some of the foremost furniture designers of that time, among them Finn Juhl. France’s ideas proved fruitful, and in the mid-1950s his company, France & Son, accounted for 60 per cent of the entire Danish furniture exports. The Danish furniture created new trends in Germany, England and especially in the United States, where the concept of Danish Modern came to characterize the period and became a world-known concept.

One of the most beautiful achievements of the cooperation between France and Finn Juhl was the FJ 136 armchair, designed in 1956 for the US market, where it had great success. It is a simple and production-friendly chair that still has a typical Finn Juhl-touch with its organic expression and clear separation of the supporting and the supported parts in the light construction. Also, the broad and beautifully curved armrests, which almost invites you to put your feet up, is a true Finn Juhl detail.

Now, Danish company Onecollection relaunches the chair – which has now been renamed the France Chair – at this year’s furniture fair in Milan. The France Chair is available with its frame in beech and oak or black lacquered, and with upholstery in leather or textile.

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