Mid-century legend Jens Risom Dies aged 100


One of the 20th century design greats, Jens Risom died December 9th aged 100. Curious about American design, the Copenhagen-native landed in New York in 1939, securing a commission for the World's Fair within his first year in the city. By 1942 he had joined forces with Hans Knoll to form the Hans Knoll Company, later transforming into the legendary Knoll. On a mission to introduce modernist furniture to a rather stale post-war market, his designs combined elements of a traditional Danish aesthetic with the developing American modernism of the time. At the heart of everything he created, a commitment to functionality, while looks were a priority, if a chair was handsome but uncomfortable it was deemed useless.

One of the last mid-century icons, Risom appeared in the legendary 1961 Playboy story alongside greats including Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia and George Nelson. On his legacy he describes, “Many of my designs from 60 years ago are now categorized as Mid-Twentieth Century, which of course makes me feel rather old. People ask me if I think these designs will still be around in another 50 years. Well, I won’t be around then so I’m not too concerned about that.”