Kaare Klint

Kaare Klint

Born: 1888 - Died: 1954

Kaare Jensen Klint was a Danish architect, furniture designer and artist. He started his apprenticeship as a painter in 1903, but quickly chose architecture, mainly because of his father, architect P.V. Jensen-Klint. He began as his father’s apprentice , who had a great influence on his later work.

In order to design furniture with the right dimensions, Klint was interested in the study of the human body dimensions and movements. He possessed a great talent for drawing and developed through his analytical approach to his projects a profundly respect for materials and quality.

1914 was the year, in which he designed his first piece of furniture – the “Faaborg”chair for Faaborg Museum. One of many designs, to spawn from Kaare Klint´s mind. He designed a series of furniture, that went on, to become the very definition of Danish craftsmanship – Amongst other, of course the iconic “Safari chair” from 1933, and the just as iconic “Propeller stool”, designed in 1930 and produced in 1962.

In the 1920´s he remodeled the “Frederiks Hospital” into what is known today, as the Danish Museum of Decorative Art, situated in central Copenhagen. A fun fact is, that the museum named their Cafeteria “Klint” in Kaare Klint´s honor.

In 1924, he was appointed as professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he co-founded the School of Furniture Design. He was a strong theoretical and analytical temperament. It was particularly his careful methodology, he could pass on to the students. He believed that it was studies of function, technology and materials that should determine the aesthetic design. He emphasized the good materials and a perfect craftsmanship process.

His teachings, and way of thinking design, influenced and inspired furniture designers such as Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen over Poul Kjærholm and Børge Mogensen. People who defined, what was to become, the golden age of Danish design (mid-century modern design), from 1945 to 1975. The “Klint school” was a reaction to the central European functionalism use of new materials and simplified processes. He had a very close cooperation with Rud. Rasmussen Carpentry, which still produces many of his classic furniture designs today.

After his father’s death in 1930, Kaare Klint completed his monumental, Grundtvig´s church in Copenhagen. Construction had started in 1921, but was not completed until 1940. He also designed the Bethlehem Church, also in Copenhagen, based on his father’s sketches. It was built from 1935 to 1937.

Among his most famous furniture design, in addition to Faaborgchair and the Safari Chair, is “Kirkestolen” (Church chair) with woven seagrass (French braid). It was designed in 1930 for the Bethlehem Church, which was the first Danish church, which tried chairs instead of benches. The chairs are still in production today.

Last but no least, we have to mention a small family tradition from Kaare Klint’s childhood home. The folded paper screens, were at that time, only made for own and friends’ use, but the demand was so high, that in 1943, Kaare Klint and his brother, Tage Klint put them into production under the name Le Klint shades. The Lampshades were sold at a store, where Kaare Klint himself designed the furniture, and was led by his niece Le Klint. Kaare Klint and other architects supplied drawings for the pleated screens, which continues to claim their position in the lighting field.

Kaare Klint continued as a professor until his death in 1954.

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