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Kai Kristiansen Shelves

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
60s 70s Teak Teak Shelf Wall Unit Kai Kristiansen Danish Design 60s
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Neuenkirchen, NI
60s 70s teak teak shelf wall unit Kai Kristiansen Danish Design 60s Object: wall unit Manufacturer: Kai Kristiansen Condition: good Age: around 1960-1970 Dimensions: ...
Category

1970s Danish Vintage Kai Kristiansen Shelves

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Metal

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 Shelves

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 Shelves

Materials

Metal

Kai Kristiansen Wall Console °127 in Rosewood
By Kai Kristiansen, Aksel Kjersgaard
Located in Antwerp, BE
Kai Kristiansen, Axel Kjersgaard, scandinavian modern, wall consoles, model 127, Denmark 1950s An important collection of high-end Scandinavian modern wall consoles, rare rosewood...
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen Shelves

Materials

Metal

60s 70s Teak Bookends Kai Kristiansen Buchhalter Danish Modern Design
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Neuenkirchen, NI
60s 70s teak bookends Kai Kristiansen Buchhalter Danish Modern Design Object: 2x bookends Manufacturer: Kai Kristiansen Condition: good Age: around 1960-1970 Dimension...
Category

1970s Danish Vintage Kai Kristiansen Shelves

Materials

Metal

60s 70s Teak Teak Shelf Wall Unit Kai Kristiansen Danish Design 60s
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Neuenkirchen, NI
60s 70s teak teak shelf wall unit Kai Kristiansen Danish Design 60s Object: wall unit Manufacturer: Kai Kristiansen Condition: good Age: around 1960-1970 Dimensions: ...
Category

1970s European Vintage Kai Kristiansen Shelves

Materials

Metal

Big Wall Unit by Kai Kristiansen for FM Mobler in Rosewood, 1960
By Kai Kristiansen, FM Møbler
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 Shelves

Materials

Rosewood

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Kai Kristiansen shelves for sale on 1stDibs

Kai Kristiansen shelves are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our Kai Kristiansen collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In stock are 11 vintage editions of these items, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original shelves by Kai Kristiansen were created in Scandinavia during the mid-20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider shelves by Børge Mogensen, Kurt stervig and Mogens Koch. Prices for Kai Kristiansen shelves can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. 1stDibs's price starts at US$1,892 and tops out at US$11,101, while pieces like these can sell for US$3,964.

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