Vintage Finn Juhl Japan Chair in Teak by France & Son


 The iconic "Japan" lounge chair by Finn Juhl in solid teak and brass by France and Son. 

Finn Juhl’s partnership with the furniture manufacturer France & Son gave birth to a series of furniture well-suited for industrial production, while staying true to the ideals of simple designs that reigned in the 1950s. 

The most famous example of this cooperation is probably the Japan Series from 1953.

The sublime simplicity of this series is a far cry from his earlier furniture designs and is inspired by traditional Japanese building techniques. The solid horizontal backrest, resting on the slightly tapered legs, is a reference to a Japanese temple door. 

The backrest ends in a circular recess, adding an optically refined impression with great effect. That was very typical of Finn Juhl, who famously said that deviation is in the detail.

Even with this simple construction, Finn Juhl is true to his idea of emphasizing the difference between the carried and the carrying elements by separating the backrest from the bearing frame with brackets in brass. One of Finn Juhl design characteristics was to make his chairs appear to float off the frame. Finn Juhl always desired to explore the limits of wood and joinery and his partnership with France and Son helped to distribute his designs and ideas to a broader audience.  

 The chair is in excellent vintage condition with new high quality Knoll boucle upholstery.  

28 H x 28D x 26.5 W

Seat Height is 13 inches

 About the Designer: 

If one person can be credited with igniting the  Scandinavian deign movement that swept like wildfire across the United States in the 1950s and ’60s, it is Finn Juhl. Finn Juhl is considered to be one of the great masters of mid-20th-century Danish design. Among his cohort, which included HANS WEGNER, BØRGE MOGENSEN and OLE WANSCHER, Juhl was the only one untrained in cabinetry. That explains the distinctiveness of his designs, which are invariably described as more like sculpture than furniture. As he once acknowledged, “Art has always been my main source of inspiration.”

Juhl was the first among that group to have his work promoted overseas, bringing the character of the nation’s furnishings — and the inherent principles of grace, craftsmanship and utility on which they were based — to an international audience.
A stylistic maverick, Finn Juhl embraced expressive, free-flowing shapes in chair and sofa designs much earlier than his colleagues, yet even his quietest pieces incorporate supple, curving forms that are at once elegant and ergonomic.

As a young man, Juhl hoped to become an art historian, but his father steered him into a more practical course of study in architecture. He began designing furniture in the late 1930s, a discipline in which, despite his education, Juhl was self-taught, and quite proud of the fact. His earliest works, designed in the late 1930s, are perhaps his most idiosyncratic. The influence of contemporary art is clear in Juhl's 1939 Pelican chair: an almost Surrealist take on the classic wing chair. Critics reviled the piece, one said it looked like a "tired walrus." Juhl had tempered his creativity by 1945, when the Danish furniture-making firm Niels Vodder began to issue his designs. Yet his now-classic NV 45 armchair still demonstrates panache, with a seat that floats above the chair’s teak frame.

Juhl first exhibited his work in the United States in 1950, championed by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., an influential design critic and scion of America’s most prominent family of modern architecture and design patrons. (Kaufmann’s father commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the house “Fallingwater.”) Juhl quickly won a following for such signature designs as the supremely comfortable Chieftan lounge chair, the biomorphic Baker sofa, and the Judas table, a piece ornamented with stylish inlaid silver plaquettes. 

In contrast to some of his function-conscious contemporaries, Juhl approached furniture design like a sculptor. Still, he never forgot its purpose. “Furniture is not created just to be looked at,” he once said. “People should be able to use a piece of furniture.”

In the modern era his designs have remained popular and widely collected. With some impressive auction results for his furniture, such as the record-setting £422,500 (then about $674,099) fetched by a superb example of his 1949 CHIEFTAIN CHAIR a few years back at Phillips London.