Ole Wanscher (1903 – 1985) Danish furniture designer

Ole Wanscher was a Danish architect, furniture designer, and writer. Wanscher was the son of an art historian who studied under Kaare Klint.

Education

In 1944, they studied Bygningsteknisk Skole; subsequently, architecture Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, Copenhagen.

Biography

He set up his own office in 1928. He designed furniture showing high standards of woodworking and cabinetmaking and worked for several furniture firms in Copenhagen.

Armchair (1949) designed by Ole Wanscher

He was one of the founders of the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in Copenhagen. Between 1953-73, he taught architecture at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi. A.J. Iversen and P. Jeppesen Møbelfabrik produced his furniture designs. His books included Furniture Types (1932), Outline History of Furniture (1941), English Furniture c1680-1800 (1944), and History of the Art of Furniture (1946-56).

He received a gold medal at the 1960 (XI) Triennale di Milano and the 1966 Georg Jensen Solvsmedie design’ competition (silver flatware). Work included in 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne’; 1942 ‘Dansk Kunsthandvrerk,’ Nationalmuseet, Stockholm; 1964-67 ·SA ‘Design in Scandinavia’ travelling exhibition; 1956-59 Germany travelling Neue Form aus Dänemark’ travelling exhibition; 1958 ‘Formes Scandinaves’ exhibition, Paris Musee des Arts Decoratifs; travelling USA ‘The Arts of Denmark’ travelling exhibition; and 1964-65 ‘Formes Danoises, France.

Style/Philosophy

Wanscher’s designs were infused with the historic classicism about which he studied. These designs reflected the eighteenth-century classical Chinese, Egyptian and English furniture. His work also paid homage to the Shaker style. He used traditional materials such as mahogany and rosewood, with unmatched attention to the detail of the joinery. While more conventional than his contemporaries, his designs reflected the combination of historical influences and the beautiful clean lines associated with Danish modern furniture.

A selection of his work

Elegant rosewood sideboard by Ole Wanscher
Elegant rosewood sideboard by Ole Wanscher
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Daybed by Ole Wanscher
Daybed by Ole Wanscher

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Hollingsworth, Andrew. Danish Modern, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1604/9781586858117.

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