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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
Classic Set of 12 Kai Kristiansen Troja Armchair, C1960, Denmark
By Hans J. Wegner, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Buffalo, NY
Stunning set of 12 Kai Kristiansen 'Troja' round chair from circa 1955... designed in the style of famed Hans Wegner Chair,. The frame is made from Afromosia Teak wood which retains ...
Category

1950s Danish Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Fabric, Teak

Midcentury Teak Paper Knife Armchair by Kai Kristiansen for Magnus Olesen
By Kai Kristiansen, Magnus Olesen
Located in Lisboa, Lisboa
This pair of paper knife chairs designed by Kai Kristiansen Is very popular. Manufactured in 1960s by Magnus Olesen in Denmark. The frame is made of solid teak. It was named paper kn...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Fabric, Teak

Mid-Century Bookends by Kai Kristiansen for FM 1960s, Set of 8
By Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Asaa, DK
Mid-century bookends by Kai Kristiansen for FM 1960s, set of 8. Very decorative Danish modern bookends in rosewood and metal designed by Danish designer Kai Kristiansen for Feldball...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Hardwood

Vintage Danish Rosewood Chest of Drawers by Kai Kristiansen for FM 1960s
By Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Asaa, DK
Vintage Danish Rosewood chest of drawers by Kai Kristiansen 1960s. Danish midcentury Modern dresser in Rosewood designed by Danish ...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Rosewood

Santos Rosewood Planter by Kai Kristiansen
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Little Burstead, Essex
A very good original planter by Kai Kristiansen in Santos Rosewood or Machaerium Scleroxylon, a sustainable species and not on any list of endangered species, so not a problem for im...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Hardwood

  • Santos Rosewood Planter by Kai Kristiansen
  • Santos Rosewood Planter by Kai Kristiansen
  • Santos Rosewood Planter by Kai Kristiansen
  • Santos Rosewood Planter by Kai Kristiansen
H 16.34 in. W 19.69 in. D 13.78 in.
Pair of Danish Rosewood 1960s Cube Lamp Tables / Nightstands by Kai Kristiansen
By Aksel Kjersgaard, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Shepperton, Surrey
A pair of Danish "Cube" tables in Rio rosewood by Kai Kristiansen for Aksel Kjersgaard. Made circa 1960, these sculpted cubic side tables would be perfect for sofa, lamp or bedsid...
Category

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

Materials

Hardwood

Teak Wall Console by Kai Kristiansen for Aksel Kjersgaard, 1960s
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Köln, DE
Hochwertig und mit Liebe zum Detail produzierter Teakholz Nachttisch zur Wandmontage (zwei Schrauben) Zwei flache Massivholz Schubladen mit filigranen Alugriffen.
Category

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

Materials

Teak

Kai Kristiansen Oak Mirror Model 145 by Aksel Kjersgaard
By Aksel Kjersgaard, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Balen, BE
A beautiful oak mirror by designer Kai Kristiansen, produced by Aksel Kjersgaard in Odder, Denmark. Elegant design combined with wonderful craftsmanship and joinery. The mirror is in...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Mirror, Oak

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Kai Kristiansen Sellers

Creators Similar to Kai Kristiansen

More Kai Kristiansen Designs
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
Average Price
$7,506
Number Available
44
Kai Kristiansen 42 Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Fabric, Hardwood, Rosewood, Teak
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
$4,285
Number Available
25
Kai Kristiansen Model 31 Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Hardwood, Teak, Fabric
Styles
Scandinavian Modern, Mid Century Modern
Shop All
Paper Knife Chair
Paper Knife Chair
Average Price
$7,476
Number Available
15
Paper Knife Chair
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Fabric, Hardwood, Teak, Wool
Styles
Scandinavian Modern, Mid Century Modern
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Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
Average Price
$3,109
Number Available
12
Kai Kristiansen Fm Reolsystem
By Kai Kristiansen
Materials
Wood, Rosewood
Styles
Mid Century Modern, Scandinavian 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 376 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 £45 and can go as high as £16,126, while a piece like these, on average, fetch £2,752.

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