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Moller #71 chair..... Mystery solved about the whole Hovmand Olsen thing??!!

- 05 Nov 2017 -
7 posts / 0 new

This has been discussed many times on designaddict (one thread is here:

Who designed the Moller 71 chair? We've always assumed Hovmand Olsen based on the vintage ad stating that, and the fact that the chair is SO similar to other Hovmand Olsen chairs (notably the one for Selig.)

I noticed that both Design Within Reach and the current Moller website list N.O. Moller as the designer, though, so I emailed Moller and presented them with the vintage ad. They told me they'd research it, and got back to me a couple of weeks later with this:

"We apologize for the delayed response.

Niels Otto and Arne Hovmand-Olsen were very close friends. It was Niels Otto that designed the model nr. 71. He was educated as a carpenter, and Arne was educated as an architect. Because no one really knew who Niels Otto was at that time, he asked Arne if he could use his name.

Best regards,

J.L. Møllers Møbelfabrik"

It would be great if this design mystery were finally solved. What do you think?

Moller #71 chair..... Mystery solved about the whole Hovmand Olsen thing??!!
chairs & stools
1950 - 1959


- 05 Nov 2017

I can certainly believe that would be the answer from the descendants of Niels.

However, based upon the known history and works of both people, as well as an understanding of how Danish designers and factory owners handled design credit during that era, I'm not quite sure it passes the unbiased, objective test.

- 05 Nov 2017

I am glad it's not just me who's skeptical.

The company who has a vested interest in internalising it's designs is probably going to tell you the design was internal. It also doesn't seem like a particularly believeable explanation to me either! :P

- 07 Nov 2017

Although Selig imported the chair design by Arne Hovmand Olsen into the USA, that chair is probably more correctly thought of as a design for Mogens Kold. Kofod-Larsen appears to have done many exclusive designs for Selig Imports, but occasionally Selig would import other non-exclusive designs, such as the Nanna Ditzel 83 chair, and offer it in their catalog.

To me, the #71 stands alone in the Moller oeuvre as being pretty atypical of the other chair designs Moller did, which otherwise seem quite cohesive. The #71 seems a lot more like an AHO design than a Moller design, to the extent that even before it was noticed that AHO was named in a Moller catalog as the designer of the #71, it was assumed that AHO was inspired by "Moller's" #71 chair with his design for Mogens Kold. Often, the Mogens Kold chairs would be seen listed on Ebay as #71's. Like others here have expressed, it makes more sense to me that AHO designed the #71. There is nothing I find persuasive about Moller's explanation.

- 07 Nov 2017

Tchp that is a much more fully worked out statement than mine. I completely agree. If I work mine out further. Arne Hovmand Olsen was nobody in 1951 so it doesn’t make sense, in 1951, to say to your buddy Arne, ‘hey let me use your name for this chair, it’ll really help me market it’. It strikes me as sloppy reasoning decades after the fact.

- 10 Nov 2017

S Christian of Copenhagen seems to have been a fairly small importer based in San Fran. They only advertised for two years in 1961 and 1962 in Furniture Forum, which were late in the Danish Modern boom and well after the early chair models were designed at J.L. Moller.

As you can see, both AHO and NO are clearly credited for the designs of 55/71 and 57/77, respectively. The information for this layout can only have come through J.L. Moller, who was a successful company by this time. It is difficult to believe that, according to the descendants of Niels, that he would simultaneously be promoting another false name for his design on the same page as a design he did stake claim to.

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