Designing simple furniture is not necessarily a simple task. In fact, to reach a design which offers a clear and basic expression while incorporating smart solutions regarding its use, material and production, is a rather complex exercise. The Bautier collection is built up as a family of furniture where every piece has been conceived with the ambition of finding an essential format. Simple as they look, great efforts have been put into the research and testing of how to arrive at the essential of a bed or the essential of a table.
During the postwar years, the Danish designer Børge Mogensen was also exploring the formats of fundamental furniture. Mogensen examined the possibilities of developing historical and classical furniture types into contemporary practical and democratic furniture; simple wooden pieces which did not take up too much room nor attention. One of his most popular pieces became the chair J39, a dining chair as simple as could be at the time. Mogensen wanted to design a chair reduced to its very construction; anonymous and standardised.
The Bautier collection does not yet include a dining chair and therefore the J39 chair has been adopted as a friend of the family. With its straight lines, rounded legs, slightly curved backrest, not to mention the oak wood, it fits in naturally with the different Bautier tables, big as small. Mogensen was concerned with the entire space in a home, thus he designed collections of furniture which would suit each other; an approach in common with the design thinking of Marina Bautier who’s beds, tables, storage and seating furniture all carry the same simple features, a coherence in form and matter.
Various cultures and traditions made an impression on Mogensen which was clearly expressed in his designs, for example the wooden Windsor chair dating back to 17th century England, and the Christian Shakers, who settled in the US in the 1750s, building communities based on prudent and frugal living with elementary wooden houses and functional handmade furniture which they built themselves. Throughout his life, Mogensen remained a spokesperson for the essential: functional, simple and well-made furniture.
This year, chair J39 celebrates its 75 year anniversary and Bautier is pleased to represent it together with the Bautier collection. An epitome of a chair which does not only fit in perfectly at Bautier, it also symbolises an understanding of what durable furniture is all about.
Photography: Eefje De Coninck & Senne Van der Ven