The collection
Chair with a simple wooden frame with seat and back formed by woven strips of plastic webbing.

Side Chair

Designed by
Jens Risom (1916–2016)
Birch, plastic webbing
Produced by
Hans G. Knoll Furniture Co., New York, New York
77 x 44.5 x 51.5 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Geoffrey N. Bradfield, D83.171.1

Risom, born in Copenhagen, studied design in Stockholm before immigrating to the United States in 1939. Working as a freelance designer, he created this chair for the Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company (established 1938), his first in a line of fifteen pieces for the company. He helped establish Knoll’s identity as a design-conscious firm in America.

This chair, angled and canted, illustrates an austere minimalism associated with Scandinavian modernist design. Webbing was used instead of traditional upholstery and it was low-cost, easily assembled from a few simple parts. In 1946, Risom opened his own firm to design, manufacture, and distribute his furniture.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.