06 March 2014

Knowing Your Mid-Century Danish Modern.

Photo source: ebay/simply mod auctions
Have you every looked at a piece and thought, "I really like this, but I'm just not sure what, or who's it is?" I'm sure you have.

Even though I've been semi studying MCM design for many years now, I still find that I lack a lot of knowledge when it comes to what piece belongs to what designer, or who a designer is. Another lesser thought of question is, what copy of said designers piece is the one that I'm looking at? Is it an authentically approved piece from one of the original manufactures? Or is it a cheap knockoff from the vast number of cheaper quality companies that where riding on the skirt tails of the popular designers. These questions do really deserve to be answered before you buy. 

There are typically two reasons for wanting to know the designer/originality of any specific piece. One is: I want to know if the asking price is reasonable for the product I'm looking at. Unfortunately, the hay days of picking up unappreciated mcm treasures are close to gone. Even more unlikely, is that you will find any kind of stylized Danish mid-century furniture for a steal. In fact, you really need to watch out for your wallet. Many people today are sharks when it comes to Stylized Mid-Century Modern Furniture, and will try to over charge you for a decent, but not particularly special piece.

Second is: Quality. Ok, so as it goes for me personally, I'm not a big name dropper when it comes to furniture. I'm fairly shallow in the terms of furniture preferences (this only applies to my personality with furniture though). What I'm looking for in furniture are good looks and a quality build. Clearly the price matters, but only if the first two items are ticked off my list first. So, when I find a piece of furniture (Danish or not) I want to know that my money is going toward something of value. I need to know it's going to stand the test of time, and stand up to some use.

Really though, the only way to know if the piece that you are looking at is worth the price is by knowing who the designer was, but even more importantly, who the manufacturer is. Let me give you an example:
My wife's aunt, who is a big participant in an antiques mall in Georgia called Cobb Antique Mall, recently found a set of dining chairs. They're Breuer Cesca Chairs* and she wanted to know how to tell the originals from the knockoffs. So, I did a bit of research and found this link here. Thing being, depending on which manufacture made the chairs, you may be getting a well built quality seat, or you may be getting a cheaply made knockoff that's not going to last very long. Or, in fact, you may find on closer inspection that the piece has already started to come apart. Being quality or not has a direct effect on whether or not these chairs are going to be a good investment and TRULY BE VALUABLE. 

You can say the same about Danish/Danish styled Mid-century furniture*. Some are authentic and some are knockoffs. So before you start whipping out that lettuce and throwing it at the sales person to make sure no one else gets that... "Got To Have Piece", pull out the smart phone a do a little research. 

Photo source: ebay/arts-factory
Here's a couple of sites to help you with that research. One is and the other is At, you will find a listing of designers and manufactures, years promoted/sold, and companies that sold these pieces. 

At you will find the same thing as, but for mid-century modern danish lighting*. Here the idea is that anyone can have a fairly quick reference guide to data on Danish modern furniture* and mid-century modern danish lighting* from the atomic era*, and still not loose that piece that just came in to the store, or was put up on the web for sale. Better yet though, is that you'll be able to make an educated decision as to whether or not the piece merits the price and if it will last for you and your family. 

Personally, I'm not starting a museum. However, I do want to know that if I need to sell my furniture and accessories, I'll be able to recoup some of what I've invested, and I'm sure you are the same. More important than resale though, is just knowing that the piece that I've just shelled out hard earned cash for will be able to endure my families use for many years to come.

While the reference sites listed in this post are not an all encompassing, they will help you to identify many of the most common Danish Modern pieces, and some of the lesser know pieces as well.

Please note that all links that have an asterisk (*) beside them are affiliate links. By purchasing thru these links, you are helping me to keep up and running. Thanks for your help and support.