| February 11,
|Mar 24, 1971 (age 69)
Does Arne Jacobsen Dead or Alive?
As per our current Database, Arne Jacobsen died on Mar 24, 1971 (age 69).
He was an apprentice mason before entering the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where he was mentored by the famed Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob from 1924 until 1927. He was awarded a silver medal for chair design at the 1925 Paris Art Deco fair, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.
Arne Jacobsen was born on 11 February 1902 in Copenhagen. His father Johan was a wholesale trader in safety pins and snap fasteners. His mother Pouline was a bank teller whose hobby was floral motifs. He first hoped to become a painter, but was dissuaded by his mother, who encouraged him to opt instead for the more secure domain of architecture. After a spell as an apprentice mason, Jacobsen was admitted to the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where from 1924 to 1927 he studied under Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob, both leading architects and designers.
Still a student, in 1925 Jacobsen participated in the Paris Art Deco fair, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, where he won a silver medal for a chair design. On that trip, he was struck by the pioneering aesthetic of Le Corbusier’s L’Esprit Nouveau pavilion. Before leaving the Academy, Jacobsen also travelled to Germany, where he became acquainted with the rationalist architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. Their work influenced his early designs including his graduation project, an art gallery, which won him a gold medal. After completing architecture school, he first worked at city architect Poul Holsøe’s architectural practice.
In 1929, in collaboration with Flemming Lassen, he won a Danish Architect’s Association competition for designing the “House of the Future” which was built full scale at the subsequent exhibition in Copenhagen’s Forum. It was a spiral-shaped, flat-roofed house in glass and concrete, incorporating a private garage, a boathouse and a helicopter pad. Other striking features were windows that rolled down like car windows, a conveyor tube for the mail and a kitchen stocked with ready-made meals. A Dodge Cabriolet Coupé was parked in the garage, there was a Chris Craft in the boathouse and an Autogyro on the roof. Jacobsen immediately became recognised as an ultra-modern architect.
Soon afterwards, he won a competition from Gentofte Municipality for the design of a seaside resort complex in Klampenborg on the Øresund coast just north of Copenhagen. The various components of the resort became his major public breakthrough in Denmark, further establishing him as a leading national proponent of the International Modern Style. In 1932, the first item, the Bellevue Sea Bath, was completed. Jacobsen designed everything from the characteristic blue-striped lifeguard towers, kiosks and changing cabins to the tickets, season cards and even the uniforms of the employees. The focal point of the area was supposed to have been a lookout tower, more than a hundred metres high with a revolving restaurant at the top but it was abandoned after huge local protests. Still, it is reflected in the overall arrangement of buildings in the area which all follow lines that extend from their missing centre. In 1934, came the Bellavista residential development, built in concrete, steel and glass, with smooth surfaces and open floor planning, free of any excesses or ornaments. Completing the white trilogy in 1937, the Bellevue Theatre featured a retractable roof allowing open-air performances. These early works clearly show the influence of the White Cubist architecture Jacobsen had encountered in Germany, particularly at the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. The cluster of white buildings at Bellevue also includes the Skovshoved Filling Station. In their day, these projects were described as “The dream of the modern lifestyle”.
His way into product design came through his interest in Gesamtkunst and most of his designs which later became famous in their own right were created for architectural projects. Most of his furniture designs were the result of a cooperation with the furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen with which he initiated a collaboration in 1934 while his lamps and light fixtures were developed with Louis Poulsen. In spite of his success with his chair at the Paris Exhibition in 1925, it was during the 1950s that his interest in furniture design peaked.
During World War II, scarcity of building materials and Nazi racial laws against Jewish citizens made assignments difficult to obtain. In 1943, due to his Jewish background, Arne Jacobsen had to flee his office and go into exile to escape the Nazis’ planned deportation of Jewish Danes to concentration camps. Along with other Jewish Danes and with the help of the Danish resistance, he fled Denmark, rowing a small boat across Øresund to neighboring Sweden where he would stay for the next two years. His architectural work was limited to a summer house for two doctors. Instead he spent his time designing fabrics and wallpaper.
When the war ended in 1945, Jacobsen returned to Denmark and resumed his architectural career. The country was in urgent need of both housing and new public buildings but the primary need was for spartan buildings which could be built without delay.
In 1951, he created the Ant chair for an extension of the Novo pharmaceutical factory and, in 1955, came the Seven Series. Both matched modern needs perfectly, being light, compact and easily stackable. Two other successful chair designs, the Egg and the Swan, were created for the SAS Royal Hotel which he also designed in 1956.
Other interior design is a line of faucets and accessories for bathroom and kitchen, created after he won a competition in 1961 for his design of the National Bank of Denmark. This classic design is still in production today by Danish company Vola.
When Arne Jacobsen died unexpectedly in 1971, he had a number of large projects under way. These included a new town hall in Mainz, Germany, and in Castrop-Rauxel, Germany, the Danish National Bank and the Royal Danish Embassy in London. These projects were completed by Dissing+Weitling, a firm set up by his former key employees Hans Dissing and Otto Weitling.
A delegation of Oxford dons visited the SAS Hotel and the Munkegård School in their search for an architect for St Catherine’s College. They were soon convinced he was the right choice for their important commission. Again Jacobsen designed everything, including the garden, down to the choice of fish species for the pond. The dining hall is notable for its Cumberland slate floor. The original college buildings received a Grade I listing on 30 March 1993.
Currently, Arne Jacobsen is 119 years, 11 months and 7 days old. Arne Jacobsen will celebrate 120th birthday on a Friday 11th of February 2022.
Find out about Arne Jacobsen birthday activities in timeline view here.