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Jens Risom

The Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom also belongs to the mid-century modern design movement. He was one of the first designers to inform the American design landscape of Scandinavian design elements. He had his own design studio, Jens Risom Design (JRD), that he set up after serving his military service. Risom was classmates with Hans Wegner and Borge Mogensen in the Copenhagen School of Industrial Arts and Design. In 1996 he received the Danish Knight’s Cross from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. One of Risom’s chairs has also graced the Oval Office courtesy of the US President Lyndon B. Johnson. In Risom’s own home, fellow Dane Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair stands out amongst his own designs. The Egg Chair was also a fixture at the Risom family beach house, as evinced by a 1967 photograph of it.

His penchant for Scandinavian modernism is apparent in elements of his designs such as in the Risom Lounge Chair (1941; Cross Lounge Chair and Cross Ottoman). The chair cuts a striking figure by way of a streamlined design featuring webbing. Its original construction utilized a birchwood frame and unused parachute straps due to wartime material constraints. The Risom Lounge Chair possesses a modern sensibility that still resonates now.

Risom’s furniture designs are displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, as well as the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.

The chair and ottoman shown above are replicas.

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