Spotlight on Poul Volther a little known prolific Danish Mid-Century designer
Poul Volther ( 1923-2001 ) is one of many highly successful Danish designers who deserve to be a lot better known. He trained as a cabinet maker before going on to study design at the Copenhagen Arts & Crafts School. This was a great grounding in both the practical side and the design side which many designers don’t have. He joined FDB Mobler as a designer under Borge Mogensen in 1949 and took over from him as head designer in 1959. As well as being an accomplished designer he also did some teaching so he must have been highly respected.
Apart from his work for FDB he designed for master cabinet maker K Thomsen and also for Frem Rojle, a large successful company who also employed Hans Olsen as a designer. He is today best known for his Corona chair which stemmed from an early and unsuccessful design known as the Pyramid chair. The Corona chair which was developed in around 1962 for the newly founded Erik Jorgensen was not an immediate success by any means and it was re-launched a couple of times before it took off in 1997. It’s still produced in Denmark today and for an expensive chair it still sells in large numbers and is Erik Jorgensens top selling piece. It’s unusual for a design to take over 30 years before becoming successful, it was probably too ahead of its time even for the 1960’s but today is looked upon as a design classic. It was designed to be comfortable if sat on in various positions and certainly looks a lot more comfortable than Arne Jacobsens iconic egg chair.
The Corona chair may be his best known design and his most flamboyant as most of his other designs are subtle and in the Danish mid-century Arts and Crafts influenced style with beautiful simple detailing. We’ve recently bought one of his rocking chairs which was designed c 1960 for Frem Rojle which is typical of his work in the 1960’s. http://www.pureimaginations.co.uk/collection/poul-volther-rocking-chair-produced-by-frem-rojle-of-denmark/
We also have 2 of his wing chairs also designed around the same time for Frem Rojle. He’s taken a typical British wing chair of a type made in vast numbers by companies like Parker Knoll and refined it carefully to give the same support and comfort but with a quiet elegance that’s missing from the mass produced copies of copies that are still available today in British shops. A new Parker Knoll wing chair will cost you about £1000 having been made for many decades in vast numbers but for not much more you can have a beautiful Poul Volther one that was produced in small numbers for only a few years. All you need is to choose a s fabric and you’ll have something that’s different and special!
For more of his designs search in the Furniture Index of the Danish Design Museum , and for more on the Corona chair check out Wikipedia .