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Peter Hvidt

 

Danish designer Peter Hvidt (1916-1986) was trained as an architect and as cabinetmaker at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. He exhibited regularly at the Cabinetmaker’s Guild exhibitions, as a designer and exhibition architect and also taught at the School of Arts and Crafts from 1942-45. In 1944 he designed the “Portex” chair, one of the first stacking chairs to come out of Denmark and opened a furniture design office with Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen.

Throughout the latter part of the 1940’s, Hvidt produced furniture that was primarily traditional but often manipulated the standards of furniture design in some very subtle way. In 1950 Hvidt and Mølgaard-Nielsen designed the “AX” chair which became the major icon of their career. Inspired by the designs of Charles and Ray Eames, the “AX” chair was the first Danish chair with a seat and back made of double curved laminated wood. The chair was produced by Fritz Hansen and was built using Hansen’s process for laminate gluing which was, in turn, borrowed from a technique used to make tennis rackets. The process gave way to expansive opportunities for mass production because it could be produced more quickly without compromising the standards for quality wood furniture. The design opened up an exciting new arena of exportation possibilities by taking into account the steps necessary to break down the item for easy shipping.

The “AX” chair was built in several different variations: with and without armrests and with reversible leather upholstery instead of the wood seat. It was also accompanied by the “AX” table and was exhibited in 1951 as part of the “Good Design” show sponsored by the MoMA.

Hvidt  received the Diplôme d’Honneur at the Milan Triennial in 1951 and 1954. He and Mølgaard-Nielsen created designs for the Fritz Hansen company and Francs and Søborg.