The Architect’s Own House
Inside the house of Børge Mogensen
Børge Mogensen’s home served as the foundation for many of his masterpieces. Continuing a tradition shared with some of the greatest designers and architects, he designed furniture for modern life – and used it in his own home.
Børge Mogensen is often celebrated as ‘the people’s designer’, a phrase that highlights his engaging personality and democratic design idiom with functionalist pieces envisioned for the lives of many. Adding another dimension to his work, Mogensen often created his iconic furniture to be used as much as possible – something he embraced himself by using his designs in his own homes.
Mogensen designed and built several houses for his own personal use. Conceived as laboratories for the development of new types of furniture, all of Mogensen’s homes embody this vision. A stunning expression of the trained cabinetmakers’ mid-century perspective is his home at Limfjorden in North Jutland. An unequivocal visualization of his style and body of work, Mogensen’s son inhabits the home today.
Designed in collaboration with architect Arne Karlsen, the house was built close to Mogensen’s childhood city of Aalborg on a narrow site by the water. With grand lines, it has an almost graphic attention to detail as the house merges quality, materials and proportion to create a true architectural experience.
All bricks were handmade by Mogensen and his assistant to ensure the proper measurements. Allowing for the perfection of true repetition, everything fits; Mogensen and his son Peter, who partly worked as an assistant on the project, spent several weeks calculating the layering of bricks to ensure the correct expression and that they all look exactly the same on the inside as well as on the outside.
“We calculated and made sketches for several weeks. All corners of the house had to be measured. And you instantly feel that, when you enter the house. Everything adds up, it’s all connected and the same measurements and proportions are repeated throughout, creating a very special atmosphere,” says Peter Mogensen, the son of Børge Mogensen and the current resident of the house.
A longstanding tradition
As such, Børge Mogensen continued a tradition of architects and designers creating their own living spaces. It is a tradition of not only creating furniture or architecture to fulfill the needs of a modern life, but also to cater to deeply personal—and often implicitly political—visions of design’s role in society.
One of the most iconic examples of this tradition, Red House in Bexleyheath, Southeast London was envisioned by Arts & Crafts legend William Morris in 1859. Designed in collaboration with architect Philip Webb, the house was Morris’ own home and still stands as the symbol of the Arts & Crafts-movement as they drew inspiration from nature and sought perfection in handmade instead of machine-made. On the outskirts of Copenhagen, the iconic Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s home stands as a glowingly white testament to his acclaimed style of Danish Modern.
Built in 1921 and expanded in 1931, it housed Jacobsen and his family until they fled Denmark in 1943 during the German occupation. Further north, Finnish masters Aino and Alvar Aalto completed their house in Riihitie in Helsinki’s Munkkiniemi in 1936 and today, guests can get a guided tour of the house and experience the interplay between wood and glass.
Celebrating the heritage of Børge Mogensen, Carl Hansen & Søn launched several of his designs in 2019. From the Deck Chair Series of outdoor furniture to the Huntsman Chair, Hunting Table and the Contour Chair, Mogensen’s pieces are icons of the modern era. In line with the theme of Mogensen’s personal design needs, Carl Hansen & Søn has shot images for the Huntsman Chair and Hunting Table in Mogensen’s own home near Limfjorden. As the iconic pieces are reintroduced, this private location underlines their timeless qualities and Mogensen’s vision alike.