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Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

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.

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Creator: Kai Kristiansen
Big Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for FM Mobler in Rosewood, 1960
By FM Møbler, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Lisboa, Lisboa
Danish rosewood wall unit designed by Kai Kristiansen for FM Mobler. The unit has 6 modules with: 3 door cabinets, one of them opens on the top, 1cabinet with sliding doors, 1 cabine...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

Materials

Rosewood

Kai Kristiansen Midcentury Scandinavian Teak Oak Shelves System FM Møbler, 1960s
By Kai Kristiansen, FM Møbler
Located in Modena, IT
Scandinavian teak oak shelving system designed by Danish designer Kai Kristiansen for FM Mobler, wood box and shelves can be positioned as desired; manufacture label., circa 1960. O...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

Materials

Metal

Kai Kristiansen MidCentury Scandinavian Dark Wood Shelves System Fm Møbler 1960s
By FM Møbler, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Modena, IT
Scandinavian dark wood shelving system designed by Danish designer Kai Kristiansen for FM Mobler, wood box and shelves can be positioned as desired; manufacture label., circa 1960. ...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

Materials

Metal

Rosewood Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Mobelfabrik, Denmark 1950's
By Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Amsterdam, NL
Large rosewood wall unit with rosewood back plates. The cabinet has some traces of use like stains, but no veneer damage. There are 2 holes in the back plates, one for the lamp and...
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

Materials

Rosewood

Vintage Danish Modular 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 Kai Kristiansen for Feldballes Møbelfabrik, Denmark, 1960s Danish mid-century modern modular 3 bay shelving system model FM Reolsystem. This...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

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 3 bay shelving system model FM Reolsystem. This...
Category

1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Bookcases

Materials

Teak

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Kai Kristiansen bookcases for sale on 1stDibs

Kai Kristiansen bookcases are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many choices in our Kai Kristiansen bookcase collection, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 8 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many original bookcases by Kai Kristiansen were created in Scandinavia during the 1960s in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider bookcases by Poul Hundevad, Kurt stervig and C.M. Madsen. The prices for Kai Kristiansen bookcases can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $636 and tops out at $11,101, while pieces like these can sell for $3,700 on average.

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