Risom Side Chair

Designed by Jens Risom, 1943

The first pieces conceived for and manufactured by Knoll, Jens Risoms furniture was originally constructed of simple maple frames and discarded parachute webbing due to wartime material restrictions. Described as good, honest furniture design, the collection helped establish Knoll as an early provider of modern design in America.

Risom side thumbnail



With its streamlined curves and angles, the Risom side chair exhibits the designer’s taste for well-crafted Scandinavian Modernism.


Frame: Select maple with clear finish. Mortise and tenon construction.

Finish: Lacquer protective coating.

Upholstery: Cotton webbing is 100% natural cotton.


The frame is available in select maple with clear finish.

The upholstery is available in three colours.




Seat height: 45cm; overall height: 77.5cm; seat depth 44cm; seat width 54cm.

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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.

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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.