Mogens Koch (1898 – 1992) was a Danish Architect and Designer. Mogens Koch was born in the Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen.
He attended the architecture school at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Between 1925 and 1932, he worked for Carl Petersen, Ivar Bentsen and Kaare Klint, where he was trained in the Danish functional tradition.
Between 1950-68, he was professor, Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, in 1956, visiting lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and, in 1962, at Industrial Art Institute, Tokyo.
In 1934, he set up his own design office. He designed the 1932 Safari chair, still in production today by Interna in Frederikssund (Denmark). He designed a range of objects, including furniture for Rasmussens Snedkerier, Ivan Schlechter, Cado, Danish CWS, and Interna; carpets; fittings; silver; and fabrics for use in the restoration of Danish churches. He published the book Modern Danish Arts — Craftsmanship (1948).
As a furniture designer Mogens Koch is known for the Folding Chair (1932), the Wing Chair No. 50 and Armchair No. 51 in mahogany and leather (1936) and the Book Case (1928).
Before teaching at the Royal Academy, Koch had the good fortune to be a student of noted architect and Professor Kaare Klint. Klint challenged Koch to draw everlasting designs, not only furniture architects but also to design monuments, buildings, textiles and silverware. Klint was impressed with Mogens Koch talent as a student, and after Koch graduated, he went on to be employed at Carl Petersen, Ivar Bentsen and Kaare Klint architect studio. Koch worked at this studio from 1925 until 1932. Here, he learned to work with the principles behind the Danish functionalism tradition.
The furniture designed by Mogens Koch is some of the most elegant and practical solutions to the demands of comfort, functionality and aesthetics. Koch’s designs have been the central feature of the Rud Rasmussen Company since 1932, and many of his furniture designs are still in production today. In 1934 Koch opened his studio.
Like Klint, Koch often used previous generations experience in furniture design and implemented these experiences into his designs. Some of Koch’s best-known works include the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University extension in Frederiksberg. This was a joint project with Steen Eiler Rasmussen. Koch’s released a highly successful sectional bookcase in 1928. A ‘Folding Chair’ was designed in 1933 but was not manufactured until 1959, yet is still being manufactured today. Koch is also known for the renovation of churches.
Mogens Koch’s professional direction changed a little in the 1950s, and he began spending much of his time renovating churches and other buildings. He converted the former Frederiks Hospital in Copenhagen for use by the Danish Museum of Art & Design.
Mogens Koch is one of the few Danish architects who have wholly succeeded in implementing Kaare Klint’s teachings of functionalism. Koch’s most famous piece of furniture is the square bookcase designed for his own home in 1928. It has an exceptionally flexible, space-saving design, and it was adjustable for the book formats of the future. Like Kaare Klint, Mogens Koch spent much time studying mathematics and human proportions and studying historical furniture items to help his designs. Koch’s practical and natural furniture is usually made of indestructible maintenance-free materials.
His work was regularly shown at the Triennali di Milano and included in the 1925 Paris’ Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes,’ 1937 Paris’ Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne,’ 1958 “Formes Scandinaves’ at the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1960—61 USA ‘The Arts of Denmark’ travelling exhibition, 1968 ‘Two Centuries of Danish Design’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He received the 1938 Eckersberg Medal and 1963 C.F. Hansen Medal.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL
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