A. J. Iversen

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Andreas Jeppe Iversen, usually known as A.J. Iversen, (13 December 1888 - 17 December 1979) was a Danish cabinetmaker and furniture designer. From the 1920s, his collaboration with architects and designers paved the way for the style which later became known as Danish modern.

Danish modern

Danish modern is a style of minimalist furniture and housewares from Denmark associated with the Danish design movement. In the 1920s, Kaare Klint embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body. With designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner and associated cabinetmakers, Danish furniture thrived from the 1940s through the 1960s. Adopting mass-production techniques and concentrating on form rather than just function, Finn Juhl contributed to the style's success. Danish housewares adopting a similar minimalist design such as cutlery and trays of teak and stainless steel and dinnerware such as those produced in Denmark for Dansk in its early years, expanded the Danish modern aesthetic beyond furniture.


Early life

Born in Sønder Bjert near Kolding in the south of Jutland, Iversen first worked as a fisherman like his father. In 1906, he became an apprentice in A. L. Johansen & Søn's furniture factory in Kolding. He then worked in various workshops both in Copenhagen and abroad, examining with interest the furniture he discovered in museums and castles. As a result of his evening classes with Frederik Poulsen and Rasmus Berg, he qualified as a cabinetmaker in 1916. [1]

Kolding Town in Denmark

Kolding is a Danish seaport located at the head of Kolding Fjord in the Region of Southern Denmark. It is the seat of Kolding Municipality. It is a transportation, commercial, and manufacturing centre, and has numerous industrial companies, principally geared towards shipbuilding. The manufacturing of machinery and textiles and livestock export are other economically significant activities.

Jutland mainland of Denmark, a peninsula north of Germany

Jutland, also known as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula, is a peninsula of Northern Europe that forms the continental portion of Denmark and part of northern Germany. The names are derived from the Jutes and the Cimbri, respectively.


Although Iversen designed furniture himself, he soon began to collaborate with artists. At the Paris World Exhibition in 1925, he exhibited furniture designed by the architect Kaj Gottlob, earning himself an honorary award. From 1927, Iversen was a regular exhibitor at the Cabinetmakers Guild's annual furniture exhibitions in Copenhagen, for which he held the chairmanship from 1930–34. Above all, he exhibited furniture designed by Ole Wanscher with whom he had a fruitful relationship for the rest of his life. He also made furniture for Viggo Boesen, Flemming and Mogens Lassen and for the Swedish designer, Torsten Johansson. [1]

Kaj Gottlob Architect and designer

Niels August Theodor Kaj Gottlob, usually known as Kaj Gottlob, was a Danish architect who contributed much to Neoclassicism and Functionalism both as professor of the School of Architects at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and as a royal building inspector.

Ole Wanscher was a Danish furniture designer. He was one of the leading figures in the Scandinavian Design movement, at a time when Scandinavian Design achieved worldwide popularity.

Flemming Lassen Architect and designer

Flemming Lassen was a Modernist Danish architect and designer, working within the idiom of the International Style. Among his most notable buildings are libraries and cultural centres. He was the brother of Mogens Lassen, also an architect.

Iversen's simplified designs built on historical models while maintaining sensitivity and refinement. Always intent on pursuing the high quality norms of Danish cabinetmaking, he took advantage of the latest developments in production technology. One of the few Danish modern cabinetmakers who both designed and manufactured his own furniture, he is remembered above all for realizing many of Ole Wanscher's finest pieces including his Ming Round Occasional Table. Other items of note include his T-Chair and Egyptian Stool. [2] Commenting on the difficulty of entering the exhibition environment in the early days, Iversen explains: "The older cabinetmakers maintained a strong hand on existing practice. They looked on Functionalism's simple lines like the plague. These old masters had position and experience, you owed them your respect, their opinions held weight and most of our colleagues tended to be their faithful followers. On the other hand, we had the support of young designers and most of the critics." [3] [4]


Iversen was an exceptionally fine cabinetmaker, devoted to his profession. He was alderman of the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild from 1951 to 1961. In 1950, his son Gunnar Iversen became co-owner of his furniture factory. [1] For his achievements, he was awarded both the Danish Order of the Dannebrog and the Swedish Order of Vasa. [5]

Order of the Dannebrog award in Denmark

The Order of the Dannebrog is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes. The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House. The statute of the Order was amended in 1951 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the Order.

Order of Vasa order

The Royal Order of Vasa is a Swedish order of chivalry, awarded to citizens of Sweden for service to state and society especially in the fields of agriculture, mining and commerce. It was instituted on 29 May 1772 by King Gustav III. It was unrestricted by birth or education and could therefore be awarded to anyone. It was the most junior of all the Swedish orders. It was often awarded to Norwegian subjects of the dual monarchy until Oscar I founded the Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1847. Since 1974 the order is no longer conferred: officially it has been declared as "dormant", along with the Order of the Sword.

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  1. 1 2 3 "A.J. Iversen", Den Store Danske. (in Danish) Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  2. Andrew Hollingsworth, Danish Modern, Gibbs Smith, p. 123.
  3. Hollingsworth, p. 1
  4. Carl Erik Andresen, Dansk møbelindustri 1870-1950, 1996, Århus: Systime, p. 84.
  5. A J "Iversen A J", Kraks Blå Bog 1974. (in Danish) Retrieved 31 October 2011.