Illum Wikkelsø: Biomorphic Beauty

Designer Illum Wikkelsø, one of the lesser known Danish designers, crafted rich, organic Scandinavian pieces in the 1950’s and 60’s. Following the path of most Danish designers at the time, Wikkelsø studied cabinetry, graduating from the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts. He held positions with cabinetmaker Jacob Kjaer and the firm of Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen. In 1944, Wikkelsø moved to Arhus to work as an interior designer until becoming an independent force in furniture design in 1954. After moving his studio to an idyllic two-century-old farmhouse in a small village south of Arhus in the late 1950’s, Wikkelsø designed his signature furniture pieces. Inspired by the natural forms in the Danish landscape, working with teak and rosewood, he captured delicately sculptural forms with a profound understanding of materials and superb attention to detail. Wikkelsø believed that furniture should be built to last while cradling the body and being pleasing to the eye. He went on to design furniture for some of the top Danish furniture makers, receiving several awards for his work.

Illum Wikkelsø lounge chair

This sculptural lounge chair c. 1960’s, showcases Wikkelsø’s playful details, with the chair bending slightly backwards in order to make the perfect angle to relax. The crossed legs, crafted in oak are typical of Wikkelsø’s craft and was manufactured by Mikael Laursen in Denmark.

Illum Wikkelsø Scandinavian Modern rocking chair

An amazing Scandinavian Modern rocking chair in ebonized wood. This model IW3 was designed by Illum Wikkelsø in 1958 for the maker Niels Ellersen.

Illum Wikkelsø Croissant sofa

A very rare sofa the “Croissant,” c. 1950’s designed by Wikkelsø and produced by Holger Christiansen in Denmark. Constructed of leather and rosewood, a simply stunning piece.

Illum Wikkelsø lounge chair

Wikkelsø created this angular lounge chair in 1965 for the manufacturer Søren Willadsen. The playful pop of yellow and the angled shape of the arms and back are both inviting and directional in a living space. The piece is finished with teak legs.

Illum Wikkelsø cabinet

This elegant rosewood drybar cabinet designed by Wikkelsø in the 1960’s was produced by C.F. Christensen, Kilkeborg. The interior features a patterned mirrored background with interior shelves. The playfulness of Wikkelsø again shines with his use of unusually high tapered legs.

Illum Wikkelsø Ringstol chair

The notable Ringstol chair, one of Illum Wikkelsø’s pieces designed in the 1950’s for Danish manufacturer N. Ellersen. Constructed of teak and hand-woven rope, the piece captures the best of Scandinavian modern design.