SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Danish Modern

danishAs time marches on, antiques become rarer, harder to find and more expensive and becomes the preserve of those who enjoy the opulence of the 18th and 19th Century. Art Deco and Art Nouveau is coming of age and will soon enjoy the title of being ‘antique’ and become highly collectable. But there is another trend in collecting and that is that of the ‘modern’ collectable – pieces from the 1920’s through to the 70’s that are recognised as iconic trends that will most definitely be tomorrow’s collectables.

Danish Modern is one such vintage style associated with the Danish design movement started in the 1920’s by minimalist wood furniture designers such as Kaare Klint who embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on the understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship but using modern materials.

Danish Modern developed from the collaboration between architects and cabinetmakers with designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner and thrived in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. The collaboration between designers and architects continued in the post war years and the focus settled on designing furniture that was modern, functional yet elegant and would improve people’s lives.

On a visit to South Africa, Gunnar Skarin from Denmark fell in love not only with our beautiful country but with a South African girl. His interest was sparked when he visited our 2011 Antiques Faire and saw a Danish sofa from the early 1960’s at Chistiaan Scholtz’ Die Ossewa stand. The two soon found a common love of Danish Modern and soon Gunnar and Christiaan were making plans to open a shop that dealt exclusively in modern collectables.

Gunnar’s love of Danish design is something that is in his DNA. “As Danes, we grow up with designer furniture – my parents, their contemporaries, my friends – everyone in Denmark appreciates the beauty of our local design tradition and live with it on a daily basis.”

Gunnar has been a dealer for the past eight years abroad and specialises in Danish design from around 1945 through to the mid 1970’s. His favourite designers from the early period are Jacobsen and Wegner and from the later years he is a great fan of Søren Lund – although he believes those designs will only come into their own in the next 10-15 years. He scours the country looking for collectable pieces buying a lot from Danish homes.

With a warehouse in Nyborg, in the centre of Denmark, he carefully selects pieces for his South African venture. “As Danish Modern is somewhat new to collectors in South Africa, I need to first feel the market out and see what will appeal to this market. Initially I will bring out middle range collectables but will also include a few high - end items. I believe that young collectors and decor enthusiasts will embrace our Danish Modern collectables as it offers a welcome alternative to the traditional antique options.” From the ranges that have been on sale, collectors have been snapping up our dining room chairs and coffee tables and Danish mid 50’s desks are also very popular. Even their collectable sewing tables from the 1950’s have been snapped up.

The Danish Design Emporium, situated on the corner of Lothbury Street and 1st Avenue, Melville carries a wide range of furniture and accessories. Already Joburgers are abuzz with this new collectable design shop with decorators and trendsetters eager to buy these unique designs. Says Christiaan Scholtz, who has partnered with Gunnar Skarin in the venture ”we are thrilled with the response – the ‘modern’ look of our furniture fits in perfectly with either antiques or contemporary design – creating a unique eclectic look that is very much in demand today.”


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