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Nanna Ditzel

 

Nanna Ditzel (1923-2005) was dubbed the “First Lady of Danish Furniture Design” by the Scandinavian Furniture Fair, a title bestowed upon her for her long career in furniture, textile and jewelry design. She was born in Copenhagen and started learning cabinetmaking at the Richards School, later attending the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1946. Ditzel began showing her work at these exhibits while she was still a student. She also met her first husband, Jørgen Ditzel, at school in 1943 and they began working and exhibiting together in 1944. She was trained in cabinetmaking, he in upholstery and they shared a design aesthetic built on creating comfortable, livable and unassuming environments.

In 1949 Ditzel designed the functional, curved “Two Seat Sofa” and a 1951 chaise lounge for Knud Willadsen. The Ditzel’s cozy 1959 “Basket” chair, designed to be suspended from the ceiling, is the most famous example of their experiments working with wicker. Nanna designed a series of jewelry that won a prize from the Goldsmith’s Association in 1950. She would later collaborate with Georg Jensen on more jewellery designs.

During the 1960s Ditzel contributed to the journal Mobilia organized by Gunnar Bratvold. She also created a large collection of textiles for Unika-Vœv, which later became the Halling-Koch Design Center. In 1966 they commissioned her to decorate their showroom with her trademark split-level floor seating and low cushions. In later years, Ditzel’s mark on the horizon was the light, fan-like and incredibly successful “Trinidad” chair, the airport seating “Tema” and the cast iron “City Bench” all manufactured by Fredericia Stolefabrik.