Chair thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

Chair

1963 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This chair, by the Danish designer Grete Jalk (1920–2006), is one of the most distinctive pieces of moulded plywood furniture of the 20th century. Made from two pieces of plywood, joined at their base, its highly sculptural form illustrates perfectly the flexibility of form offered by plywood as a material.

Grete Jalk was born in Copenhagen in 1920. After working as a cabinet-maker’s apprentice she studied at Copenhagen School of Art and Crafts (where she later taught) and with Kaare Klint at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen. She started her own design studio in 1954, and worked for many years in collaboration with the Danish manufacturer Poul Jeppesen.

The chair is part of a group of plywood furniture that Jalk began to design in 1962. The other pieces in the group were a set of nesting tables, whose form is similar to the seat profile of this chair, and a large coffee table. Jalk’s plywood furniture was manufactured by Poul Jeppesen. Having initially worked with Jeppesen on traditionally handcrafted seat and case furniture, Jalk became interested in designing less expensive furniture that could be industrially produced. It was this that led to her experiments with plywood.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Teak-faced 9-ply moulded plywood with steel bolts
Brief Description
Chair, designed by Grete Jalk, manufactured by Poul Jeppesen, teak-faced 9-ply moulded plywood with steel bolts, Store Heddinge, Denmark, 1963
Physical Description
Chair of teak-faced 9-ply moulded plywood. The chair is highly sculptural in form - with ribbon-like curves. It is made of two pieces of moulded plywood joined at their base with steel bolts.
Dimensions
  • Height: 74.9cm
  • Width: 62.9cm
  • Depth: 69.2cm
Style
Production typesmall batch
Marks and Inscriptions
(The manufacturer's mark 'PJ' is burnt into the underside of the chair seat)
Gallery Label
Text from Plywood: Material of the Modern World (15 July-12 November 2017) CHAIR 1963 Made from two pieces of moulded plywood joined at their base, this chair’s highly sculptural form illustrates perfectly the flexibility of the material. The chair was manufactured by a Danish company in small numbers (about 300). Its designer, Grete Jalk, emphasised the fact that plywood could be easily moulded by anyone who had experience working with wood. Designed by Grete Jalk (1920–2006) Manufactured by Poul Jeppesen Store Heddinge, Denmark Teak-faced 9-ply moulded plywood with steel bolts V&A: W.26–2016(2017)
Production
By the time this chair was produced, the great fashion for plywood furniture was (temporarily) waning. As a result, Jeppesen only made around 300 of the chairs. They were offered with a variety of surface veneers, including: teak, beech, rosewood, Oregon pine, walnut and oak.
Summary
This chair, by the Danish designer Grete Jalk (1920–2006), is one of the most distinctive pieces of moulded plywood furniture of the 20th century. Made from two pieces of plywood, joined at their base, its highly sculptural form illustrates perfectly the flexibility of form offered by plywood as a material.



Grete Jalk was born in Copenhagen in 1920. After working as a cabinet-maker’s apprentice she studied at Copenhagen School of Art and Crafts (where she later taught) and with Kaare Klint at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen. She started her own design studio in 1954, and worked for many years in collaboration with the Danish manufacturer Poul Jeppesen.



The chair is part of a group of plywood furniture that Jalk began to design in 1962. The other pieces in the group were a set of nesting tables, whose form is similar to the seat profile of this chair, and a large coffee table. Jalk’s plywood furniture was manufactured by Poul Jeppesen. Having initially worked with Jeppesen on traditionally handcrafted seat and case furniture, Jalk became interested in designing less expensive furniture that could be industrially produced. It was this that led to her experiments with plywood.

Bibliographic Reference
Wilk, Christopher. Plywood: A Material Story. London: Thames & Hudson / V&A, 2017
Collection
Accession Number
W.26-2016

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record createdJuly 28, 2016
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