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Magnus Læssøe Stephensen

Magnus Læssøe Stephensen (1903–1984) was a multi talent, an architect who also designed furniture, cutlery etc. and for established brands as Fritz Hansen and Kay Bojesen. He was known for his particular style, a warm functionalism with tentacles reaching both Bauhaus and Japanese arts and crafts. He had a flair for the Japanese and ancient take on simplicity, combined that with local Nordic materials.

The Golden Age of Danish Design

It was not meant as a compliment when old cabinetmakers called the young architect Magnus Læssøe Stephensen “a revolutionary”. But in a sense they were right. His curating of the important Annual Guild Exhibition was one of the starting points of the “revolution”, which later came to be known as the Golden Age of Danish Design. As curator, Magnus Læssøe Stephensen banned the usual bourgeois polished mahogany drawing room interior from the exhibition. Instead he demanded that the cabinetmaker should cooperate with architects to present a vision of an entire interior for a two bedroom flat, like those most ordinary people were moving into! Bang! A new democratic mind-set, suggesting that design was about improving people’s lives, and a mind-set that resulted in an unpretentious aesthetic, where function and respect for craftsmanship is central. This aesthetic has since become synonymous with Nordic design.

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