Aficionados of any era can be absolutists, and mid-century modern enthusiasts aren’t exempt.
Some are fierce proponents of designs by Scandinavian masters like Hans Wegner, Grete Jalk, Folke Ohlsson and Arne Jacobsen. Some champion the American icons including Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Paul McCobb, and Florence Knoll among others.
So it’s fitting that one of the design giants of the mid-century modern era bridges the two. Jens Risom (b. 1916 – d. 2016) was a Danish-born but largely American-based creator of some of the most iconic modernist furniture forms. From his early collaborations with Knoll to success with his own company, Jens Risom Design, he created a singular design vocabulary that resonates today.
From his signature floating top tables and use of high-quality materials like solid walnut, Risom explored and then put into practical use design ideas that subsequent generations of creators have embraced in their own work.
Risom emigrated from Denmark to the United States in the late 1930s and set out on what was to become a storied career in his adopted country. He was the first in-house designer for Knoll, opened and operated his own Jens Risom Designs for 25 years, then in his 90s and until he died was a designer for Design Within Reach.
Risom designs have long been a part of our repertoire and we’re always happy to feature his pieces in the store. Visit the showcase section of our website to see what restored Jens Risom pieces are currently available.
- Architectural Digest: “Jens Risom’s Iconic Midcentury Modern Furniture, Revisited”
- Jens Risom on Wikipedia with additional links