Originally designed for SAS Royal Hotel
Arne Jacobsen designed the Giraffe chair for his famous total interior design of the SAS Royal Hotel in the late 1950s.
Arne Jacobsen designed the Giraffe chair for his famous total interior design of the SAS Royal Hotel (now Radisson Collection Royal Hotel) in the late 1950s. At the time, the chair was only produced in a limited series for use at the hotel and was never put into general production. However, in 2019, the Little Giraffe was launched commercially in a version based on one of the many experimental models Arne Jacobsen created at Fritz Hansen’s factories.
At the SAS Royal Hotel, the Giraffe was a part of the perfectly balanced whole that Arne Jacobsen created inside the hotel. While the architectural setting was defined by straight angles and minimalist precision, the interior was a rich and diverse universe of shapes, colours, patterns and details. The Giraffe was used in the first-floor restaurant, upholstered in a green fabric as part of the carefully designed colour scheme of greys and bluish greens.
At the SAS Royal Hotel, the Giraffe was part of an exclusive setting, where every last detail was designed by Arne Jacobsen.
The development of the Giraffe exemplifies Arne Jacobsen’s experimentation with form and production methods in collaboration with the furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen. In the mid 1950s, Fritz had acquired the licence to a new technological production method that made it possible to shape furniture as a single, unified padded seating shell. Arne Jacobsen utilized this new technological approach in the design of the Giraffe, which was developed through experimentation with several different versions. For the hotel restaurant he developed a chair with green upholstery, wooden trim along the edges and legs in laminated wood. A lesser known version, which was used in the hotel’s double rooms, had a column base and no wooden trim. In addition, Arne Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen developed several other prototypes, including a low-backed model with steel legs that was put into production in 2019 under the name Little Giraffe.
At the SAS Royal Hotel, the Giraffe was part of an exclusive setting, where every last detail was designed by Arne Jacobsen. The chairs for the hotel restaurant had to live up to a number of requirements, which determined the Giraffe’s characteristic design. In order to create an intimate space around the table, the chair was to have a high back, but it also had to be narrow to allow enough space for the waiter to serve the meal. For the restaurant, the chair was designed with wooden legs, wooden trim along the edges and a green fabric upholstery that was carefully matched to the overall look Arne Jacobsen created for the restaurant. All aspects of the interior were either designed or carefully selected by Arne Jacobsen, from furniture and lighting to glass, tableware and salt and pepper shakers as well as a semi-transparent woven curtain with a chequered pattern that separated the high-end restaurant from the lobby and created a graphic backdrop for the restaurant experience.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Arne Jacobsen’s scrapbooks. The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / 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.