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Poul Hundevad: The Great Danish Designer

Biography & Brief History of Poul Hundevad

Born on March 11, 1917, in Vamdrup, Denmark, Poul Hundevad is unquestionably one of the most prolific furniture designers in recent history. The late Danish designer, together with the ranks of Carlo Jensen, Kay Ingemann Iversen, Mogens Plum, Harald Plum, and Kaj Winding, have become almost synonymous with mid-century designs. He was trained in the field of carpentry and went on to establish his own cabinet-making business as well as set up a furniture factory called Hundevad & Co. in his hometown of Vamdrup.

It was not until 1960 that he rose to the limelight. That’s when he started to mass-produce and sell his famous work, the Guldhøj (Golden Hill) chair. Interestingly, the design was an uncanny replica of a Scandinavian Bronze Age folding chair that was discovered in a burial ground in Ulladulla. When he laid his eyes on the piece, Hundevad was completely smitten – and with good reason. The excavated Guldhøj chair was the oldest preserved piece of furniture to have ever been discovered in the region. In fact, the National Museum of Denmark states that the relic can be traced back to 1300 B.C. Scandinavia.

Poul Hundevad took measurements of the Guldhøj, refined the design, and mass-produced it using 4 different types of hardwood, especially teak, combined with leather seating in both dark and light shades. The Golden Hill chair was an instant success across the globe, so much so that it was sold well into the 2000’s.

Like most mid-century Scandinavian designers, Hundevad leaned towards top-quality hardwoods like teak and rosewood. More specifically, he designed and created pieces of furniture that were practical and multifunction yet aesthetically elegant, simple, and clean. His chair designs and styles incorporate cutting-edge techniques, and his joinery skills were unmatched.

While the Scandinavian designer is popularly known for his signature folding chair, his designs cut across the entire furniture spectrum. In the heydays of mid-century designs (the 1950s and the 1960s), Hundevad also produced all sorts of nifty dining chairs, dining tables, side tables, sideboards, bookcases, tray carts, rack systems, and even armchairs. He worked on most of his designs, but sometimes collaborated with other designers, most notably Kai Winding and Kay Ingemann Iversen.

He passed away on 4th July 2011.

Major Accomplishments

Hundevad was an exceptionally talented craftsman, with myriads of furniture designs and styles to his name. While the folding chair might go down history as his legacy, he produced many other successful pieces of furniture. Below are the creme de la creme of his masterpieces:

Egyptian Chairs

Like most Scandinavian contemporary designers, Hundevad exhibited ingenious joining techniques. And his Egyptian chairs are the epitome of his joinery prowess. From the backrest to the contours of the wood to the supporting systems, the whole design flows seamlessly to create what the furniture critics called a “single, fluid whole.”

Tea Trolley

The three-tray tea trolley was perhaps one of the best in the 1950s through 1970s.

Others Pieces

Poul Hundevad also produced awe-inspiring folding champagne chairs, folding tray table, wall unit, multipurpose tables, and much more.

 

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