Poul Cadovius

Poul Cadovius

Born: 1911 - Died: 2011

The Danish designer and manufacturer Poul Cadovius was one of the most colorful and successful personalities in Danish furniture history. He was an ambitious, adventurous and constantly seeking person – when not busy with designing and producing furniture, he drove racing cars or build luxury yachts at his own shipyard in Svendborg. Poul Cadovius managed to take out over 400 patents – the last as a 90-year old.

He was born in Frederiksberg in 1911 and originally trained as a saddler and upholsterer at his father’s company. In 1932 he started his own upholster company, while also assisting his father, who took ill during the 1930s. Around 1940 Cadovius became increasingly interested in industrial design, closed his company and took employment at a large wallpaper manufacturer, where he stayed on for some years.

In 1945 Cadovius embarked a new adventure and established his own furniture manufacturing company under the name of Royal System a/s. Three years later Cadovius had the revolutionary idea to design a floating, modular shelving system – the Royal System, the world’s first wall hung furniture system. The innovative idea was to maximize floor space and signify the end of conformity in shelving with many individual combinations and light styling. “Most of us live on the bottom of a cube. If we put the walls even with the floor, we get a lot of space to live on” was the mantra of Paul Cadovius.

The Royal System went on to win the gold medal at the Finland Furniture Fair in 1950 and silver medal at the XI Triennale di Milano 1957 and remained a hallmark of Mid Century modern design throughout the 1950s and ‘60s.

Around 1960 Poul Cadovius once again made a huge impact on the shelving area – he designed a freestanding modular based shelving system in metal with endless combinations and able be assembled without using tools or bolts – the System Abstracta. Cadovius expanded both in Denmark and abroad. Sometime between 1964 and 1967, Cadovius purchased the well-established furniture manufacturer France & Søn, credited with the industrialization of teak furniture production, and eventually renamed the company CADO. CADO collaborated with acclaimed and iconic Danish designers such as Grete Jalk, Finn Juhl, Sigvar Bernadotte, Edvard Kindt-Larsen, Ole Wanscher and Arne Vodder.

His minimalistic aesthetic is considered a perfect harmony between form and function – industrial and organic, affordable and elegant. Cadovius passed away in 2011 at the age of 99.

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