Jens Risom for Knoll Leather Armchair

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Created in 1941 for Knoll by designer Jens Risom is this model 652 U1/2 armchair. This model is a 1950s production (production run was from 1941 to 1960) that has been fully restored, the hard maple frame refinished and lacquered and rich brown latigo leather webbing applied to the frame. Jens Risom was one of the first designers to work at Knoll starting in 1941 and ending in1946 by which time he started his own firm, son of an Danish architect he graduated from the school of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen in 1938 and came to the United States in 1939.
Knoll (Manufacturer), 
Jens Risom (Designer)
Of the Period
Mid-Century Modern
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Manufacture
Materials and Techniques
Lacquered   Maple
Other   Leather
29 in. H x 24 in. W x 27 in. D
74 cm H x 61 cm W x 69 cm D
Seat Height
15.75 in. (40 cm)
Dealer Location
San Francisco, CA
Number of Items
Reference Number

About Jens Risom (Designer)

The Danish-born Jens Risom brought the Scandinavian 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 Borge 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, 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. A Risom chair is 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 from these pages, Jens Risom is one of the great men of American modern design, who made furniture that is unique and timeless. Read more about Jens Risom in Introspective magazine.

393 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94103
(415) 870-8477
1stdibs Dealer since 2007 Located in San Francisco, CA
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