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Illum Wikkelsø

Illum Wikkelsø

(Danish, 1919 - 1999)

‘V12’ sofa designed by Illum Wikkelsø

Made by Holger Christiansen.
Legs venereed in rosewood, cushions and frame covered in the original leather upholstery. Denmark, 1960s.
Height 68 cm, width 140 cm, depth 70 cm.



Born in 1919 in Diernäs, a small village outside Faaborg on the island of Fyn in Denmark, Illum Wikkelsø started working as an apprentice for cabinet maker Emanuel Petersen at the age of 16. Illum graduated as a cabinet maker in 1940 and moved to Copenhagen; there he studied at the Technical Society School where he graduated in 1943. Between 1940 and 1941 he studied at the Danish School of Arts & Crafts under O. Mølgaard Nielsen, who taught Hans Wegner as well.
In 1943 he entered the Furniture School at the Royal Academy of Art, lead be Kaare Klint. 

During the years spent in Copenhagen, Illum also worked with cabinet maker Jacob Kjaer and the architectural firm of Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen. In 1944 Illum moved to Aarhus to work for cabinet maker O.A.V. Christensen until 1946, when he became an interior designer at LEM’s Furniture House. He stayed with LEM until 1956. During this period, he won prizes at four separate annual exhibitions at the Copenhagen CabinetMakers’ Guild.

In 1954 Wikkelsø set up his own practice and started designing furniture for some of Denmark’s best makers. Illum Wikkelsø’s aesthetics draws inspiration from natural organic forms and transposes them into furniture characterised by formal simplicity and carefully considered proportions. The latter make his seating furniture designs, which Wikkelsø is best known for, equally beautiful and comfortable.

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