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Jens Risom
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Risom, Jens

Carroll Gantz
Birth/Death Age: 
1916 -
Jens Risom

This US industrial designer was born in Copenhagen and studied at the Copenhagen School of Industrial Arts and Design under Kaare Klint with classmates Hans Wegner and Borge Mogensen. He worked first as a furniture and interior designer for Ernst Kuhn. In 1939, he immigrated to New York to study contemporary furniture design and free-lanced with designer Dan Cooper as Director of Interior Design. In 1941, he joined forces with Hans Knoll. When the Hans Knoll Furniture Company launched in 1942, 15 of the first 20 pieces (the “600” line) were designed by Risom. During the war, he served in the US Army under General George Patton. After the war, formed his own concern, Jens Risom Design, Inc. in 1946. In 1954, he expanded his manufacturing facilities to meet demand. Late in the 1950s, he shifted from residential furniture to office management, hospital and library furniture. He sold his business to Dictaphone in 1970 and initiated a consulting service, Design Control in New Canaan, CT. His chairs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Yale Museum of Art & Design, the Brooklyn Museum, the RISD Museum in Providence and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. In 1966, Queen Margrethe of Denmark knighted him with the Danish Knight’s Cross, and in 1997 Knoll reissued a collection of Risom-designed chairs, stools and tables to their line. In 2004, Rhode Island School of Design conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts upon him, noting he was “one of the most influential furniture designers of the 20th Century.”

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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