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Jens Risom

Danish, American, 1916-2016

The Danish-born Jens Risom brought the Scandinavian modern design sensibility to a wide audience in the United States. As the first designer for Knoll Inc., Risom introduced American buyers to the region’s enduring design values of simplicity, grace and craftsmanship.

Risom trained in furniture making at the Copenhagen School of Industrial Arts and Design under Ole Wanscher, alongside classmates Hans Wegner and Børge Mogensen. In 1939, a year after graduating from business school, Risom decided to move to the U.S. 

While working for an interior designer in New York in 1941, he met Hans Knoll, and the businessman and the designer hit it off. They brought out their first line the next year, despite wartime materials restrictions. The signature piece — now a design icon — was a lounge chair with a striking, undulant birch frame and a seat made of webbed sub-military grade parachute straps. Risom was drafted into the army, and served as a translator under General George Patton. When he returned from the war, Risom clashed over furniture design ideals with his business partner’s new bride, Florence Knoll, the pioneering mid-century modernist who was schooled in the Bauhaus method, which favored furniture with strict, geometric metal frames. Risom then started his own company, Jens Risom Design.

In the course of his long career, Risom developed a stylistic vocabulary that was a reflection of the life of the man himself: his furniture has Danish warmth coupled with an American air of crisp efficiency. Vintage Risom chairs are almost instantly recognizable — the arms and seat backs are set at a distinctive angle that seems to invite people to sit back and relax, yet they know they can hop up in an instant, ready to go.

As you will see on these pages, Jens Risom is one of the great men of American modern design who made furniture that is unique and timeless.

Find a collection of vintage Jens Risom furniture on 1stDibs that includes lounge chairs, desks, coffee tables and more.

Average Sold Price
$4,929
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Midcentury Sideboard in Rosewood by Jens Risom, 1960s
By Jens Risom
Located in Lejre, DK
The Danish sideboard from the 1960s, designed by the renowned furniture designer Jens Risom. The sideboard is characterized by its beautiful rosewood, which brings warmth and charac...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Jens Risom

Materials

Rosewood

Early Jens Risom Knoll Associates Armless Settee
By Knoll, Jens Risom
Located in Southampton, NJ
Classic early Knoll Associates sofa designed by Jens Risom in the early 1940s. Solid birch base with sleek angled and tapering legs support a comfortable cantilevered seat with origi...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Jens Risom

Materials

Birch, Upholstery

Jens Risom Model 666 for Knoll Reupholstered Side Chairs c.1941-Set of 6
By Jens Risom, Knoll
Located in San Francisco, CA
ABOUT Contact us for more shipping options: S16 Home San Francisco. An original set of six Jens Risom for Knoll Model 666 WSP dining side chairs. Constructed of solid Maple frames and reupholstered wool fabric. CREATOR Jens Risom for Knoll Associates. DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1941. Reupholstered in 2014. MATERIALS & TECHNIQUES Solid Maple, Wool. CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor wear on the frames throughout. Very sturdy. Seats have no tears, fading or stains. DIMENSIONS H 31.25 in. W 17.5 in. D 17 in. Seat Height 18 in. HISTORY The first true Knoll designer, Jens Risom joined the young Hans Knoll Furniture Company in the early 1940s as the sole designer of interiors and furniture. Born in Denmark to the well-known architect Sven Risom, Jens worked in Stockholm for one year before graduating from the prestigious Kundstandvaerkerskolen in Copenhagen. Risom left Denmark for the United States in 1938 and, for two years, served as Director of Interior Design at the studio of Dan Cooper...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Jens Risom

Materials

Wool, Maple

Vintage Classic Armless Chairs by Jens Risom, 1950's
By Jens Risom
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A pair of classic slipper or armless chairs by Jens Risom-original, vintage 1950's production. Walnut frames have a beautiful patina, newly reupholstered in Brunschwig & Fils linen, ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Jens Risom

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

Rare Slipper Chairs by Jens Risom for Risom, Inc. C. 1950s
By Jens Risom
Located in Westport, CT
Experience the epitome of mid-century modern elegance with our fully restored walnut slipper chairs from the 1950s, a timeless creation by Jens Risom for Risom, Inc. Meticulously ref...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Jens Risom

Materials

Linen, Walnut

Walnut Lounge Chairs in Grey Linen, Model U430 for Risom, Inc. Circa, 1950s
By Jens Risom
Located in Westport, CT
Experience the epitome of mid-century modern elegance with our fully restored walnut lounge chairs from the 1950s, a timeless creation by Jens Risom for Risom, Inc. Meticulously refu...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Jens Risom

Materials

Linen, Walnut

Classic Jens Risom Upholstered Bench Six Foot
By Jens Risom
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A Classic Jens Risom six foot long, upholstered, floating bench. Walnut frame with natural, raw linen/silk upholstery. Note-this is a lighter wood-walnut version.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Jens Risom

Materials

Walnut

Jens Risom Side Tables - Midcentury Modern - Pair Walnut Formica Floating Top
By Knoll, Florence Knoll, Jens Risom
Located in Decatur, GA
Pair of mid century modern side or end tables by Jens Risom for his company, Jens Risom Design. Classic floating silouhette. Frames are a medium tone solid American walnut. Tops are ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Jens Risom

Materials

Formica, Walnut

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Creators Similar to Jens Risom

More Jens Risom Designs
Risom Lounge Chair
Risom Lounge Chair
Average Price
$3,744
Number Available
8
Risom Lounge Chair
By Jens Risom
Materials
Wood, Fabric, Upholstery, Walnut
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Debuting in 1943, the Risom lounge chair was among the first pieces of furniture commissioned and produced by legendary manufacturer Knoll. It was the work of Jens Risom (1916–2016), who had only just moved from his native Denmark to the United States in 1939.Risom was by then a graduate of business school and had studied under Danish architect and designer Kaare Klint at Copenhagen's School of Industrial Arts and Design (Hans Wegner, whose many iconic creations include the Wishbone chair, wa...
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Jens Risom furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Jens Risom furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Jens Risom furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 323 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 5 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Jens Risom were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Fredericia, Florence Knoll, and Craft Associates. Prices for Jens Risom furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $350 and can go as high as $35,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $4,213.
Questions About Jens Risom
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Jens Risom was a Danish designer. Many people credit him with bringing the modern style of Scandinavian design to the U.S. He is well-known for his chairs, which feature angled seat backs often upholstered with webbing. On 1stDibs, find a selection of Jens Risom furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Yes, Jens Risom was Danish. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 8, 1916, and attended Copenhagen School of Industrial Arts and Design. Following his graduation, Risom moved to the U.S., where he lived for the rest of his life. On 1stDibs, find a collection of Jens Risom furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Normally, vintage furniture dealers or auction and online platforms specializing in authentic vintage furniture sell Jens Risom rockers. From time to time, rocking chairs produced by the Danish designer may appear at thrift shops and secondhand stores or be available directly from individuals who own them. On 1stDibs, find a selection of Jens Risom chairs.

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