J39 has won the hearts of design enthusiasts worldwide for more than seven decades, and this year it has been 75 years since Børge Mogensen dew his immortal classic. At Fredericia Furniture, we mark the anniversary with a version with a seat in sustainable hand-woven sedge grass, just like the original version from 1947, which Børge Mogensen himself had standing in the living room.
One of the best-selling wooden chairs in Danish history
Denmark has a unique and impressive design historie with legens such as Kaare Klint, Hans J. Wegner, finn Juhl and Børge Mogensen drewing one classic after another in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, it was architects like Arne Jacobsen who set the agenda with a more industrial approach to design, and since then, for example, Nanna Ditzel created her poetic Trinidad chair. Today, new generations and names such as Cecilie Manz and Space Copenhagen are well on their way to continuing the story of Danish design, which is stronger than ever internationally. In this series of famous classics, J39 lights up as one of the most significant and one of the best-selling wooden chairs in Denmark through time.
J39 is as popular as ever before and has long since become not just a Danish but an international icon, found in restaurants, educational institutions, and private homes from Madrid, London, and Paris to Stockholm, Osaka, New York, and Melbourne. J39 has embraced the whole world for a lifetime with its simple and informal idiom that fits all cultures at all times.
The young pioneer
As a very young man in 1941, Børge Mogensen (1914-1972) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Furniture Shool led by Kaare Klint. Klint is considered the father of Danish Design, and Børge was Klint’s best student and the designer who came closest to being the great master’s heir. Where Kaare Klint focused on dealing with the decorative elements of the past and had a very pragmatic, rigorous, and mathematical approach to furniture design, Børge Mogensen also had a democratic mission. He took a stand against the Danish carpentry furniture. He wanted to produce good and solid designs for everyone. Design that could last through generations and be produced rationally and sustainably, as one would say today. Børge Mogensen became one of the pioneers who created the foundation for the concept of Danish Design. Today, his simple and functional furniture made of wood aimed at enriching everyday life is standing both in the home and public space worldwide. And the J39 is perhaps the purest example of Mogensen’s design philosophy.
J39 was a further development of Kaare Klint’s Church Chair, which he created for Bethlehem Church in Copenhagen in 1936. And with Børge Mogensen’s interpretation, the world got a chair that had a far better comfort than the Church Chair and, despite the clear inspiration from the American Shakers, managed to be his own completely.
Sustainability and the original sedge grass
J39 is made of walnut or FSC Mix oak and beech with natural hand-woven paper cord seat, but on the occasion of the 75th anniversary, it is now also produced in a version with seat in sedge grass, as the original from 1947.
Sedge grass grows rapidly and grows up to 160 centimeters tall. It does not require the same processing as paper and can be harvested twice in one season. Certified farmers in China produce the sedge grass we use at Fredericia Furniture. Sedge grass is easy to grow and, at the same time, serves as a habitat for a large number of animal species.
Today, J39 is one of the strongest manifestations of Børge Mogensen’s unsurpassed ability to create timeless furniture. Furniture that, with natural materials and their eternal, austere expression, has managed to stay current through generations across changing times and cultures and which can be inherited generation after generation after generation.