Jens Risom’s furniture, the first collection designed for and manufactured by Knoll, helped establish the company as an early provider of modern design in America. The unique geometry and angles of legs exhibit Risom’s Scandinavian design sensibilities.Share
A KnollStudio classic, one of the first designs commissioned by Knoll.
Legs and aprons: Solid maple or walnut hardwood. Mortise and tenon joints.
Top: veneer with cathedral pattern with poplar cross bands and backing. Core and edge is solid hardwood lumber in clear finish.
The table is available in maple or in walnut.
71cm H x 106.5cm D.
Originally known as the 600 Series, the Risom Collection was the first furniture ever commissioned and manufactured by the Hans Knoll Furniture Company. Prior to meeting Jens Risom, Hans Knoll operated as an importer and distributor of European Designs. Knowing that the war would disrupt his supply lines, Hans sought a designer to develop original Knoll Furniture that could be produced locally in New York. Simultaneously, Jens Risom was looking for a salesman to promote his work. Luckily they found each other in 1941, and the two young men — just 23 and 24 — embarked on a four-month tour of the United States, getting a sense of exactly what designers and architects were looking for from modern furniture. Risom later recalled: “There was no furniture, nothing to be had…everybody was anxious to buy everything they could get their hands on.”With this in mind, he designed a complete line of simple modern chairs, tables and storage that could be made locally and, more importantly, with materials not limited by wartime supply restrictions. Risom’s design approach was perfectly suited for the challenge: “Design is a creative effort to successfully solve problems; ‘good design,’ therefore, is a ‘good solution’ which must satisfy the many requirements.” The resulting furniture, which Risom described as, “very basic, very simple, inexpensive, easy to make,” was made from essentially scrap wood and discarded nylon webbing from parachute factories.
Jens Risom, who designed the first Knoll chair in 1941, received his education in Denmark at the Krebs' School, St. Anne Vester School, University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen’s Kunståndvaerkerskolen. He worked as a designer of furniture and interiors in the Copenhagen office of architect Ernst Kuhn. After moving to the United States, he became the design director of Dan Cooper in New York and also designed for Georg Jensen. Responsible for designs dating to the mid-20th century, Risom is a trustee of the Rhode Island School of Design and was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark in 1966.