Børge Mogensen

Borge Mogensen (1914-1972)
Mogensen was a Danish designer, who worked in the office of Kaare Klint, and as his assistant at the Royal Academy. From his time with Klint, Mogensen fostered a deep commitment to producing classical, simple and highly functional furniture. He also became interested in researching people and their trends in order to develop domestic objects that were customized to their specific use. Continuing Klint’s innovative studies in how the size and proportion of objects should influence their design, Mogensen, collaborating with Grethe Meyer, produced a project called the Boligens Byggeskabe in 1954 which introduced the idea of building shelving and storage units as part of a room, rather than purchasing and placing them in the space. Mogensen did studies to determine the standard measures for common objects, like cutlery and shirts, and how many of each item the average person owned. With this information he developed a set of figures for the base width and depth of drawers and shelves, and his information tables were published as a manual on building storage systems.
In addition to mapping out the terrain of home shelves and cupboards, Mogensen was a prolific furniture designer, exhibiting almost every year at the Copenhagen Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibitions, and was the Head of Furniture Design during the 1940s for the Danish Cooperative Wholesale Society. His furniture, strongly representative of his training as a traditional craftsman, was greatly appreciated by the group of people not yet interested in the ways modernism was changing the structure of furniture and the decorative arts. Mogensen appeased them with his classical designs, but also, in the beginning of his career, subtly began to incorporate new ideas into his traditional forms.
By the end of the decade however, Mogensen had re-embraced a more straightforward functionalism that Klaus Meedom, writing about the Cabinetmaker’s exhibit, said was “so strict that he has to violate his own rules to be able to breathe freely.”