Nanna Ditzel (1923 – 2005), a leading Danish 20th-century designer, had also worked in furniture, textiles and jewellery design for many decades and has been one of the few women designers in the country to achieve celebrity status.
After studying under the highly influential furniture designer Kaare Klint at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, she moved to furniture design, a field in which her classic design for children’s high chairs (1955), the Ring easy chair (1957) and the Hammock chair (1957) in wicker attracted critical attention.
Nanna Ditzel Furniture
She was married in 1946 and worked with her husband on a wide range of products, including several for the silversmith Georg Jenson, for whom she had worked since 1954. After her husband died in 1961, Ditzel’s furniture took on a more experimental edge, exploring the potential of foam and fibreglass, materials used by several avant-garde designers, such as Verner Panton.
During this period, she also worked on some striking textiles, including the celebrated Hallingdal series (1964), which has remained in production for several decades. In 1968, Ditzel remarried and moved to London for almost twenty years. During that time, she designed for some Danish and British companies.
Return to Copenhagen
After returning to Copenhagen in 1986, at the beginning of the 1980s, she began working for Fredericia, a leading Danish manufacturer with a reputation for high-quality furniture. This relationship marked yet another new direction in her career, the Bench for Two (1989) and the dramatic red and black plywood Butterfly chair (1990) that marked a shift in the profile of Fredericia—the embracing of the avant-garde. Ditzel’s chair Trinidad, Tobago table (both 1993) and Tempo chair (1998) followed. Ditzel received many awards during her long and distinguished career, including the Lunning Prize in 1956, the Silver Medals at the Milan Triennali in 1951, 1954, and 1957, followed by the Gold Prize in 1960, and the ID Prize for her Trinidad Chair in 1995.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL
Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.
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