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Features

Knoll Designer, Jens Risom, Spotlighted in Modern Magazine

April 12, 2012

Knoll designer, Jen Risom, who designed the Risom lounge chair, side chair and tables in 1941, is praised in the Spring 2012 issue of Modern Magazine for "devising furniture that melds beauty and utility."

Risom was born in Denmark and studied furniture design at the School and Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen before moving to the United States in 1939. "What I found was that [the United States] was advances in just about all areas — except for tastes," commented Risom.

Modern magazine writer, Thomas Hine, notes: "In 1941 [Risom] met Hans Knoll, a German who had started a company to make modern furniture in America."

"He was looking for me, and I was looking for him, but neither of us knew it," Risom recalls.

Hine writes: "Knoll needed a designer on hand who could respond to opportunities, while Risom viewed Knoll as a 'super-super-salesman' who could get the word out."

The Risom Lounge chair entered the market just as "materials and products used in furniture were being diverted to military use." The webbing used on the chair was being reserved for parachute harnesses but "Risom found that it was possible to buy webbing that the military had rejected."

"This, wartime shortages shaped the chair," which later became one of the first hairs to be used in "clubs and other recreational facilities for soldiers."

Risom, who was drafted and served three years in Europe, returned home from the war in 1946 and opened his own company where he continued to design and manufacture both the Risom Collection and other modern furniture for homes and offices. The Risom lounge chair side chair and tables were reintroduced to Knoll in 1990."