Sometimes you find something on the internet that truly makes you stop and say “wow”. This is one of those things. and since I’ll never be able to afford one of the original mint condition Jens Risom pieces from the 1950’s, I perfectly cool with owning a reissue of this caliber.
London’s Rocket Gallery is reissuing nine pieces of Jens Risom. The release of these pieces of furniture is the result of a four-year collaboration between Jens Risom and Rocket Gallery owner John Stephenson. Rocket Gallery hosted the first ever retrospective of Risom’s work in 2007 and from this the new collection was born.
Risom and Stephenson share the same belief that good design can change lives, and beautiful, well-made objects should be accessible to everyone. This mutual ideology led Stephenson to introduce Risom to Benchmark, a British company that specializes in hand-built furniture. It was Benchmarks attention to detail and quality that led Risom to sign off on the project knowing that Benchmark would be able to produce furniture to his exacting standards. Rocket and Benchmark have jointly secured the European rights to re-issue Risom’s 1950s and 1960s furniture designs in all their beautiful glory.
Born in Copenhagen in 1916, Risom was the son of award-winning architect Sven Risom. Jens grew up surrounded by good design and it effected his sensibility and stylistic approach to design. Risom attended the School for Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, and after graduating he trained under designer Kaare Klint. Klint is best known as the founder of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. After two years with Klint, Risom decided to move to the United States where he felt he would have a better chance of making a name for himself as a designer. This is why Risomtends to describe himself as a “Danish born, American Designer”.
Risom’s name with mid-century modern design is infamous. His work for Knoll ‘s first collection in 1945 helped to catapult him forward as a master of modern furniture design. One year later he formed his own company Jens Risom Design Inc.
Risom felt it was important to maintain control over not only the design elements of the company, but also the manufacturing. The introduction of his 1955 catalogue states: “Everything is designed and manufactured by us. Having the planning, engineering, and production all under one roof is very important, we think. It guarantees uniformity and continuity of style.” Hardly the detached designer with a sketch pad, he was on the factory floor every week and supervised day-to-day production. His obsessive pursuit of perfection in both form and function delivered enormously successful products. By the time he sold the business in 1970 to the Dictaphone Corporation, it was the third largest furniture company in America.