Treasured: Space Copenhagen’s founders share their most precious object

Peter Bundgaard Rützou and Signe Bindslev Henriksen explain their connection to Børge Mogensen’s iconic ‘J39’ chair

peter and signe of space copenhagen
Christoffer Reglid

We met studying architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and this was the academy chair. It was what we sat on our entire time there – one of the faculty’s basic instruments of design. At that point, I don’t believe we thought about it much, but later we learned that it had a legacy of its own.

Even though it’s a very simple piece in oak – four vertical poles and a woven paper-cord seat – it’s one of the index chairs of a whole movement. You can see its link to the ‘Y’ or ‘CH24 Wishbone’ chair by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn: it has this understated, very Scandinavian aesthetic, and shares a sense of craft, detail and composition. When you trace a movement back, you arrive at origin points: that’s what this chair represents.

We started designing furniture around 15 years ago, and have since worked with Fredericia, a family-owned company that shares our fascination with legacy pieces. It had two of these chairs as part of its huge archive and we were so in love that the owner gave one to us as a present. It’s still in production, but the original version has a lower seat height than ones you can buy today.

You see many modern interpretations created using these same two materials – it’s a combination we understand intuitively in the North. It represents a long tradition, much older than the 20th-century furniture movement. This might be a famous chair, but it’s very humble. We started at the academy at a young age, and it’s been on that path with us all along, silently present.

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