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Kai Kristiansen

Danish, b. 1929

With a passion for math and engineering, Kai Kristiansen has created high-quality wood furniture for decades. Beginning in the 1950s, his chairs, modular shelving and other furnishings were made in the style that would become internationally renowned as Danish modern and boasted clean lines, perfected functionality and exacting craftsmanship.

Born in Denmark, Kristiansen trained in cabinetmaking before studying with Kaare Klint, often cited as the “father of modern Danish design,” at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. At just 26 years old, Kristiansen opened his own studio.

Kristiansen had his mid-century breakthrough in 1956 with the Chair #42, which he made with Schou Andersen. Unlike most other chairs at the time, Chair #42’s armrests, with their wealth of radical angles, were connected to the back rather than the front legs. This unconventional flourish makes the backrest appear as though it is floating in midair above the seat.

Kristiansen’s next innovation was a modular wall system in 1957 — three years ahead of Dieter Rams’s more famous 606 Universal Shelving System. Called the Reolsystem Wall Unit, produced by SB Feldballes Møbelfabrik, it’s also known as the FM Wall Unit as FM/Fornem Møbelkunst began producing it in the 1960s.

Kristiansen would go on to work with other leading Danish furniture manufacturers such as Magnus Olesen, Fritz Hansen and Vildbjerg Møbelfabrik, designing everything from chairs and desks to sideboards and cabinets, frequently in rosewood and teak. (The latter was a sought-after wood by Scandinavian modern designers.)

While many of Kristiansen’s timeless designs remain in production, such as his Paper Knife sofa, which was reintroduced by Miyazaki Chair Factory in 2008, and his 1950s Entré collection, which was relaunched with Great Dane Furniture in 2016, others are prized as vintage mid-century pieces.

Today, Kristiansen is still at work on new furniture with an expert eye to thoughtfully functional designs that are made to last.

Find a collection of vintage Kai Kristiansen furniture on 1stDibs.

Iconic Designs from Kai Kristiansen
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
Paper Knife Chair
Paper Knife Chair
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Set of 4 Teak Model 42 Armchairs by Kai Kristiansen for Schou Andersen
By Schou Andersen Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Little Burstead, Essex
A very nice set of 4 classic Scandinavian Modern Teak Model 42 armchairs by Kai Kristiansen for Schou Andersen, with fresh black leatherette seats and backs.
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Faux Leather, Teak

Modular Sideboard with Sliding Doors designed by Kai Kristiansen 1970s
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Antwerp, BE
Modular set of four sideboards designed by Kai Kristiansen in the 1970s with the well known handles and sliding doors that characterizes his design. Labeled at the back N-furnitur. I...
Category

1970s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

20th Century Executive Desk by Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Møbelfabrik
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Brugge, BE
'Model 70' 1950s Denmark Teak 72cm high, 172cm wide, 85cm deep Kai Kristiansen embodies the essence of Danish Modern design, with his creations serving as quintessential example...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

Vintage Danish Teak Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for FM, 1960s
By Kai Kristiansen, Feldballes Møbelfabrik
Located in Asaa, DK
Vintage Danish modular Teak wall unit by Danish architect Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Denmark, 1960s Floating modular 4 bay shelving system model FM Reolsystem. This ...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

Twelve Restored Kai Kristiansen Rosewood Dining Chairs - Inc. Custom Upholstery
By Kai Kristiansen, Schou Andersen Møbelfabrik
Located in Knebel, DK
Set of twelve fully restored, 1960s rosewood dining chairs by Kai Kristiansen for Schous Møbelfabrik. The chairs have Kai Kristiansens typical light and elegant design that make them fit in easily where you want them in your home - a design that was so uniqe that his colleague the famous designer Hans J. Wegner characterized model 42 as beautiful from all angles when the chair with it´s unique backrest swivel function was revealed in 1956. The chairs are in very good condition as they have been fully restored, sanded by hand and refinished by our experienced workshop to insure that they are in very good condition with only minimal signs of age and use and will be reupholstered without additional cost in fabric of your choice from "Kvadrat" / standard leathers from "Sorensen Leather" or for additional price luxury leathers (Elegance, Vegetal, Rustic, Pure and Royal Nubuck). Kai Kristiansen was one of the last pupils of the famous architect Kaare Klint who founded modern Danish design and laid the foundation for the "Danish Modern" style. During the years 1958-78 Kristiansen worked in his business in Aarhus owned jointly by himself and furniture maker Illum Wikkelsø (1919-99). Kristiansens works met their most intense demand during a few decades from 1950, then production of them was discontinued. However, several of them are now being produced again by the Japanese furniture producer Miyazaki Chair...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Leather, Fabric, Rosewood

Kai Kristiansen Mid-century modern pair of 1960´s floating teak night stands
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Copenhagen, DK
A pair of 1960s teak wall-mounted bedside tables by iconic Danish designer Kai Kristiansen in perfect condition. Meticulously crafted from premium teak. A space-saving design, unitin...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

Danish Modern Floating Top Teak Desk by Kai Kristiansen
By Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in North Hollywood, CA
Stunning Danish modern teak desk designed by the famous cabinet maker Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Møbelfrabrik in Denmark, circa 1960s. The FM60 desk is a highly sought-after Scan...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

Danish Modern Rosewood 3-Bay Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for FM, 1960s
By Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Asaa, DK
Danish Modern Rosewood 3-Bay Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for FM, 1960s. Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Denmark, 1960s. Floating modular 3 bay shelving...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Rosewood

Browse all Furniture from Kai Kristiansen
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Creators Similar to Kai Kristiansen

More Kai Kristiansen Designs
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Average Price
$7,951
Number Available
36
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Fabric, Rosewood, Hardwood
Styles
Scandinavian Modern
A radical, simple piece of furniture, Kai Kristiansen's (b. 1929) Chair #42 perfectly exemplifies Danish modern design’s meld of form, space and functionality. Produced in 1956 for Danish manufacturer Schou Andersen, the functional and modest properties of Kristiansen’s minimalist dining chair are emphasized when viewed from the front. Admiring Chair #42 from the side tells a different story, however, as the focus shifts from its sharply inclined rear legs and joined armrests to a tilting, fl...
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Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
Average Price
$5,310
Number Available
21
Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Hardwood, Teak, Fabric
Styles
Scandinavian Modern, Mid Century Modern
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Paper Knife Chair
Paper Knife Chair
Average Price
$7,481
Number Available
16
Paper Knife Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Fabric, Wood, Hardwood, Teak, Wool
Styles
Mid Century Modern, Scandinavian Modern
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Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Average Price
$3,421
Number Available
11
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Rosewood, Hardwood
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Shop All

Kai Kristiansen furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Kai Kristiansen 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 Kai Kristiansen furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 404 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 1 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Kai Kristiansen were created in the Scandinavian Modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Arne Vodder, Niels Otto Møller, and Johannes Andersen. Prices for Kai Kristiansen furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $72 and can go as high as $27,370, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $3,761.

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