PART OF THE TOTAL DESIGN FORSAS Royal Hotel
The Series 3300 was launched in 1956 and made famous as part of Arne Jacobsen’s interior design of the SAS Royal Hotel, where it stood in the Air Terminal.
The lounge chair and sofa series 3300 belong to a different line in Arne Jacobsen’s works than the organic expression characterizing many of his furniture pieces and other designs from the 1950s. Series 3300 is characterized by straight lines and oblique angles that visually link the series to his architecture from this period.
Arne Jacobsen often used Series 3300 in his design of private and public interiors. In 1956, the year it was launched, the series was used in the interior design at Rødovre Town Hall, where it helped create a modern, welcoming atmosphere in this new public building. From 1959, the sofa was part of the cosmopolitan environment in SAS’s new air terminal at the SAS Royal Hotel (now Radisson Collection Royal Hotel) in the centre of Copenhagen, which earned it the nickname the Airport Series.
Series 3300 was launched by furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen in 1956 and includes a lounge chair and a modular two-, three- or four-seater sofa. The design is often described as one of Arne Jacobsen’s most architectural designs, in part due to the visual distinction between the steel frame and the padded seat, which highlights the construction of the design and lends it a light, floating expression. The sofa series also demonstrates how Arne Jacobsen’s expression during this time is driven by his ambition of creating modular designs: designs constructed from identical basic modules that can be scaled and adapted to match the user’s needs. In the 1960s, the systems approach became a common tendency in his architecture and designs, resulting in products such as the fittings series VOLA (1969) and the standard house Kubeflex (1970).
The lounge chair and sofa series 3300 belong to a different line in Arne Jacobsen’s works than the organic expression characterizing many of his furniture pieces and other designs from the 1950s.
In 1959, SAS’s new airport terminal opened in the centre of Copenhagen in connection with the new SAS Royal Hotel, which opened the following year. The entire building complex was designed by Arne Jacobsen, and together with the comprehensive total design of the interior of the building, it is now considered his undisputed principal work. In the airport terminal, air travellers could check in and wait until the SAS bus arrived to deliver them directly to their plane at Copenhagen Airport. In the open, high-ceilinged space of the terminal, Series 3300 easy chairs and sofas contributed to an atmosphere of international class and modern comfort. When the hotel opened the following year, the series was part of the interior design, its oblique lines striking a contrast to the free, organic expression of the Egg and the Swan.
The design is often described as one of Arne Jacobsen’s most architectural designs, in part due to the visual distinction between the steel frame and the padded seat, which highlights the construction of the design and lends it a light, floating expression.
Arne Jacobsen used the design frequently in the many public and private building designs he realized after 1956. It premiered at Rødovre Town Hall (1956), where it was part of the building’s functionalist total design and was also used a few years later at the famous SAS Royal Hotel. Over the following decades, it would be used at St Catherine’s College in Oxford, which Arne Jacobsen completed in 1964, and in the National Bank of Denmark, from 1971. The design was not only used in Arne Jacobsen’s big public buildings. In 1956, among numerous other projects, he completed a villa for the director of the fish smokehouse Sjællands Odde Fiskerøgeri, Leo Henriksen. In this spectacular round house at Sjællands Odde, the new Series 3300 was included as part of a perfectly balanced interior design.
Arne Jacobsen had an early version of the design in his own home. In the early 1950s, he designed a sofa for his new terrace house on Strandvejen 413 that may be regarded as a precursor of Series 3300. In this early model, the design has not yet found its final form – the lines are less distinct, and the padded seat is not raised above the frame, as it later was to achieve its characteristic lightness. However, the clear separation of the seating component and the load-bearing frame is clear, even in this early version, which was produced by the cabinetmaker’s studio Rud. Rasmussens Snedkerier. Arne Jacobsen used this sofa, which probably only exists in this one prototype, in his living room along with a custom-designed coffee table.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Sheridan, M. (2003). Room 606: The SAS House and the Work of Arne Jacobsen. London: Phaidon Press / 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.