This is a paid partnership with Fredericia.
I first made an acquaintance with this beautiful chair two years ago when I was introduced to Fredericia at the London Design Festival. Inviting me to experience their collection for myself, I was somewhat spoilt for choice. They took one look at me and said “that one – that’s the chair for you”. It was The Spanish Chair, a modernist classic launched in 1958 by Børge Mogensen.
It is a dream to sit in. Despite its upright position, I promise you, it’s just perfect for kicking off your shoes and losing yourself in a good read. It creaks as it adjusts to your shifting weight, with arms just right for your mug of coffee, a notepad. It’s been staying in our unfinished bedroom and I’ve had the pure, unadulterated pleasure of styling and living with it for the past few weeks.
Who Are Fredericia?
Named after a small industrial town in Denmark, the Fredericia design house was founded in 1911 operating as a chair factory. During its first twenty years of production, the factory concentrated on upholstery, later becoming the first licenser of Thonet in Scandinavia. Family owned to this day, its humble beginnings and near bankruptcy would see it become a forerunner of Danish Modernism.
In 1955, the factory was acquired by CEO and architect Andreas Graversen who brought in close friend and designer Børge Mogensen to turn it around. Over the next twenty years, Mogensen would go on to design a string of Danish modern classics, including his first – the No.1 Sofa whose shape would arguably become the most emulated silhouette for furniture in modern design. His style was described by Graversen as “unpretentious, pure and honest”. His ethos was to create pieces that would blend seamlessly into the every day, interested in the functionality and simplicity of it over the short term trend.
Today, Fredericia is home to some of the most revered designers of our time, including Cecilie Manz, Gamfratesi and our very own Jasper Morrison. Building on a proud heritage, Fredericia continues to create the modern originals of tomorrow. Their designs show the high level of craftsmanship, long-lasting integrity and of course, the quintessentially Danish aesthetic for which they’re known.
The Spanish Chair
On a journey through Spain, Mogensen noticed a chair with wide arm-rests, a style common in parts influenced by Islamic culture. This sparked an internal based on functionality, a clean aesthetic and unassuming, rustic materials that would ultimately become The Spanish Chair.
Manufactured by Fredericia to his exacting standard, the chair’s geometric frame ensures greater stability. Whereas flat sawn wood has a tendency to split, the stronger quartersawn oak frame shows the almost straight stripes of grain that run through the wood. Vegetable tanned saddle leather becomes the backrest and seat, a Medieval Spanish methodology of furniture construction that would inspire Mogensen throughout his career. One can just imagine the beautiful patina that would develop in the leather over time. Brass buckles underneath tighten the leather as it softens and the wide armrests are intended to be used as a ledge for a cup or book, doing away with the table and opening up space.
As this year marks the 60th anniversary of The Spanish Chair, Fredericia has produced a limited edition in one of Mogensen’s most loved shades sourced from his archive. Olive Green. Undoubtedly a popular colour in Mid-Century design, the chair is a symbol of the longevity and enduring nature of Fredericia’s rich design heritage. Available until December 31st 2018.