Although he didn’t achieve as much recognition as his pears inside Denmark, Ib Kofod-Larsen (1921-2003) was still able to achieve renkown for his practical and versatile furniture designs and with graceful esthetic, mostly by working with companies outside of his home. He was born in 1921. Little is known of his early years, but as a boy he trained as a cabinetmaker and received high honors in 1944. After that he attended the Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhaigen for architectire, and got a degree in 1948 in the same year he won an award from the Danish Cabinetmaker’s Guild, as well as the Holmegaard Glass Competition.
These things led to some attention from a Danish manufacturer Faarup Mobelfabrik, for which he designed in the 1950's, he made some of his most memorable works, including the Model 68 Side Board.
The Model 66 Sideboard
His recognition at home led to success outside of Denmark in Sweden and England where he designed for the British firm High Wycombe developing the GPlan Line, including desks; sideboards; armchairs; sofas; and room dividers, and also the Christensen & Larsen, Carlo Gahrn, Bovenkamp, Petersen’s and Frederica Furniture companies. He perceived as being able to breath new life into designs which had become old and dated. He was known for “honoring the inate qualities of his chosen materials” and focusing on the native grains and patterns of the woods and also for following basic tenets of Danish design, which produced versatile and practical pieces with graceful, minimalism esthetic. Throughout his career, he worked with bentwood shells ans construction and seat positions was hired in 1953 by Dansk Glasfiber Industrie to develop heat-hardened polyester for the design of new furniture types. He worked with exoticwoods, including teak and rosewood, which were more plentiful and leather too. Airy lines was the hallmark of his work. The Penguin (or Shell) chair (1953), the Elizabeth chair (1956)-- named after Queen Elizabeth II who bought a pair -- and the teak and leather upholstered Seal chair went on to become a couple of his most famous chairs, and are becoming very very popular items in the mid century and flea markets. In fact, the Seal chair, was produced by a Swedish company OPE, helped to breathe new life into the financial strain that Swedish industries were experiencing in the mid 1950s. Larson’s Shell chair was produced by Selig, one of America's leading importers and producers of furniture, and copies were made into settees, dining chairs, and more, selling thousands of units.
Early sketch of the Penguin chair, characterized by an elegant, organic and sculptural style
1960 Sideboard by Kofod-Larsen
The U56 Chair, a.k.a. the “Elizabeth” combined a low seat height with a sledge back to create iconic, Danish modern design. It was also designed as a settee.
Although he passed away in 2003 he focused mainly on furniture design, Kofod-larsen designed glass, textiles, silver, radio and television cabinets, wallpaper and also worked in industrial design. His designs still resonate with homeowners and collectors today showing good design never goes out of style.