The "Baker Sofa" is known as one of the most beautiful sofas by the hand of Finn Juhl (1912-1989), designed in 1951 for the company Baker Furniture in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This beautiful sofa is in two parts with an upholstered body on a light construction of wood (walnut or teak/ wool upholstery) - a typical example of how Finn Juhl divided the elements in order to create lightness visually as well as constructively. In fact it gives a wonderful idea of the designer's formgiving ability, showing one of his most dynamic designs with its curious backrest seeming almost as though to float on air ( C & P Fiell, "Landmarks of Chair Design", Fill Publishing, 2010). Its sculptural forms are inspired by the modern free art, which interested Finn Juhl very much in his design.
Wish I could find a vintage one...
In 2009, the Danish Company OneCollection (http://www.onecollection.com) reintroduced it to the market. And 59 years after its birth the Baker Sofa actually got an international design award, receiving, on January, the WallPaper Design Award 2010 in the category "Best reissues" !
Finn Juhl, who is regarded as the father of the Danish Design he contributed to introduce in the USA when he became world famous after he designed the Trusteeship Council in the UN building, was born at Frederiksberg in 1912 as son of an autoritarian cloth merchant. Originally he wanted to become an art historian but his father persuaded him to join The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture after his graduation in 1930. During the Summer of 1934 Finn Juhl had a job with the architect Vilhelm Lauritzen, but he resigned in 1945 and started his own drawing office.
Finn Juhl was not an educated furniture architect, but an all round building’s architect, something he often emphasized. Nevertheless, it was the furniture which made him known both in Denmark and abroad. He designed his first furniture for his own apartment and they were manufactured by the young carpenter Niels Vodder, with whom he got a long lasting and fruitful co-operation.
In 1937 Finn Juhl debuted in public as a furniture architect at the exhibition of the Copenhagen Cabinetmaker’s Guild at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and right from the beginning his furniture was a subject of discussion. The furniture architects, who were known, all had either a carpenter’s education or were educated by Kaare Klint at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. But not Finn Juhl, who was self taught and who broke the craftsman like traditions within the design of furniture.
Even though there was a lack of acknowledgement to begin with of Finn Juhl’s furniture design, he, ten years after his debut, got his furniture in a series production at the company Bovirke and later with France & Son, and others. From 1951 the company Baker Furniture Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan produced his furniture in USA. In 1946, when Finn Juhl was at the peak of his career as a furniture designer, he got his first big interior assignment, Bing and Grøndahl’s store at Amagertorv in Copenhagen. This became later on one of his main works and was awarded with the Eckersberg- Medal in 1947.
In 1937 Finn Juhl married the dentist Inge-Marie Skaarup and when the highly art interested couple in 1942 were building their new house at Kratvænget in Ordrup, it was decorated with works of the Danish art painters of the time : Lundstrøm, Richard Mortensen, Eigill Jacobsen, Robert Jacobsen and others. Finn Juhl always saw his furniture as a part of the expression of the room and thought that furniture, handicraft and free art should created a completeness of the house, his own house being a school example of this idea.
(Photos : arcspace.com)
For more please see :
Finn Juhl by NoCollection:http://www.onecollection.com/FinnJuhl
Finn Juhl's house : http://www.ordrupgaard.dk/topics/collection-and-architecture/finn-juhl's-house.aspx
And Finn Juhl on obliqdesign : www.obliqdesign.com