Originally designed for Munkegaard School
The light, functional construction of the Munkegaard chair from 1957 was a perfect match for the modern setting of the Munkegaard School.
The Munkegaard chair from 1955 is the third of Arne Jacobsen’s original shell chairs. It was designed for the Munkegaard School, which was completed in 1957. With its light, functional construction the chair was a perfect match for the modern setting of the Munkegaard School.
When the Munkegaard School opened in 1957, it was an innovative example of school architecture that considered the children’s mental and physical well-being. The classrooms were placed in single-storey buildings, provided easy access to the outdoors and let in ample daylight. Arne Jacobsen designed the school interior throughout, from joinery sections and colour schemes to school furniture and lighting. The Munkegaard chair was designed for the perfectly balanced whole that Arne Jacobsen created at the Munkegaard School with a simultaneous focus on functionality, well-being and beauty.
Like the original Ant chair that Arne Jacobsen developed three years earlier, the Munkegaard chair has a seat and back shaped in a single sheet of moulded plywood. Using this new, lightweight construction, Arne Jacobsen created a functional and elegant chair that was easy for both children and adults at the Munkegaard School to move around.
The Munkegaard chair was designed for the perfectly balanced whole that Arne Jacobsen created at the Munkegaard School with a simultaneous focus on functionality, well-being and beauty.
The Munkegaard School in Gentofte is a principal work of architecture in Arne Jacobsen’s career and in Danish architecture overall. Arne Jacobsen’s design of the school accommodated the new educational trends of the time and their emphasis on the children’s need for daylight and physical activity. With the school Arne Jacobsen also realized a layout that brought a calm, intimate and aesthetic atmosphere into a large, functional school complex. Each classroom had access to its own private atrium, designed by Arne Jacobsen with carefully selected plants and plaster casts of ancient sculptures in an exquisite unity of aesthetics, nature and learning. The interior was furnished by Arne Jacobsen with custom-designed school furniture and luminaires, several of them modern classics today.
The Munkegaard chair was used in the classrooms along with a custom-designed school desk shaped in a single sheet in beech wood and Formica that forms both the tabletop and the shelf underneath it. All the furniture was made in three different sizes to match the different year groups. The school furniture designs are excellent examples of the natural simplicity that Arne Jacobsen always aimed for in his designs.
The Munkegaard chair remained in production at Fritz Hansen throughout Arne Jacobsen’s lifetime. In 2014, it was relaunched by the furniture manufacturer HOWE, which produces it in an eco-friendly version using FSC-certified wood with detachable, reusable components.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Arne Jacobsen’s drawings. The collection of architectural drawings, The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / Arne Jacobsen’s scrapbooks. The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / Stenum Poulsen, K., Skaarup Larsen, A., & Staunsager, S. (2020). Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark. Kolding: Trapholt. / Thau, C., & Vindum, K. (1998). Arne Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press.