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Kai Kristiansen

1929 - , 丹麦

Kai Kristiansen 出生于1929年,是丹麦著名家具设计师。他崇尚纯粹的丹麦现代风格,以简洁的线条、严格的工艺和完美的功能性著称。

在结束细木工学徒的生涯之后,Kristiansen 于1948年进入丹麦皇家美术学院,师从 Kaare Klint 学习家具设计。26岁,他创立了自己的工作室,与 Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Fornem Møbelkunst, Fritz Hansen 和 Magnus Olesen 这些当时知名的制造商合作,打造了一系列经典的丹麦现代设计家具。

Kristiansen 偏好使用柚木和玫瑰木,这在他设计的桌、椅、餐厨柜上都有明显的体现。1956年,他为制造商 Schou Andersen 设计的42号椅诞生,作为 Kristiansen 职业生涯中最重要的作品之一,它与当时大多数椅子不同,42号椅的扶手不是延伸到前腿的,而是通过激进的角度连接着椅背和后腿,这使得椅背好似漂浮在座椅上空,独特的造型、舒适的坐感,赢得了评论家和市场的一致好评。另外,Kristiansen 与 Magnus Olsen 合作的121号躺椅(1955年)、与 Feldballes Møbelfabrik 合作的FM模块化墙面系统(1957年)等,均获得了极大反响,声名远至欧洲及美国。

但由于 Kristiansen 的家具制造难度极大,很多设计最终停产。直至2014年,他与日本 Miyazaki Chair Company 宫崎椅业公司合作,终于重新推出了 Handy Chair (31号椅)、Paper Knife Chair (121号躺椅)等经典作品。如今,Kristiansen 在20世纪中叶的家具极具收藏价值,他也被广泛认为是上世纪北欧最有才华的设计师之一。

Kai Kristiansen started his professional career as an independent designer in 1954, the same year that the successful exhibition Design in Scandinavia started touring the United States, supporting the already established concept of “Danish Modern”, which contained a powerful image of functional, high-quality furniture. Danish design, both furniture and crafts had been made popular in Europe and the US after the Second World War, and during the 1950s and 60s exports were increasing. Due to the high demand, both in Denmark and abroad, Danish furniture manufacturers were facing a new possibilities as well as challenges in terms of production and sales.

Three years earlier, in 1951, Kristiansen had completed his studies, both as a cabinetmaker and a furniture architect as it was called back then. When Kristiansen, after his studies, returned to his hometown in the north of Denmark, he faced the necessity of change up close. His father, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, had acquired a furniture factory specializing in the Renaissance furniture, and acquisition pointing backwards rather than forwards. Helping his father out of the poor investment with hard work must have left impression on Kristiansen who, soon after, newly wed and enthusiastic, moved to another region and started his own design practice. Kristiansen’s timing could not have been better; the demand for change and innovation was at its highest.

While the generation of designers before him had developed their careers working with cabinetmakers around Copenhagen, producing and exhibition exclusive pieces, Kristiansen set off on his adventure at a breaking point in the furniture industry when cabinetmakers all over Denmark were forced to make choices: if they wanted to survive in the new competitive field and reach a large consumer market ready for modern furniture, they would have to reinvent their production methods and facilities.

Kristiansen had settled his design practice in Brædstrup, a small town in the middle of Jutland, around one hour from Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark. At this point it was mainly the cabinetmakers and designers in Copenhagen who received the attention. Thanks to a broad network of institutions, organizations, exhibitions, critics, passionate and skilled designers and manufacturers, Danish design had built a strong reputation reaching as far as the US, and it was now up to the rest of the Danish furniture manufacturers to follow suit if they wanted to be part of the progress. During his year of studies in Copenhagen, being taught by on of the most highly esteemed profiles, Kaare Klint, Kristiansen had learned and seen enough to bring some innovation to the provincial cabinetmakers in the middle of Jutland.

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