Frits Henningsen


Frits Henningsen (1889-1965) graduated from The Danish Design School (Kunsthåndværkerskolen) as a cabinetmaker in 1911. Henningsen was a student of the talented cabinetmaker I.P. Mørck and he had also taken classes from furniture designer Kaare Klint (1888-1954). In 1915 he decided to establish himself as an independent cabinetmaker and opened his own store at the centre of Copenhagen. His time working directly with customers gave Henningsen an incredible sense of understanding the market and its demands. In 1915 he also became a member of the Copenhagen Carpenters Guild (Københavns Snedkerlaug) where he exhibited his works each year until 1937. 

Henningen had an extraordinary sense of quality and was highly respected among his colleagues and his customers as well. Opposed to other cabinetmakers he also designed and manufactured his own furniture, which were inspired by former styles such as French Empire style, Rococo and English furniture of the 17th Century - much like his former teacher Kaare Klint (1888-1954). 

Henningsen’s pieces are noted for their elegance, above all for the soft curves in the arms of his chairs and sofas, demonstrating his traditional approach aiming to combine style and comfort. Many of his furniture designs were crafted in exotic woods such as palisander and mahogny and were handmade in line with traditional, labour-intensive methods from the 19th century. Henningsen’s Heritage Chair (Øreklapstol) is today considered his masterpiece. In the early 1940s he distanced himself from the younger designers of the day, who increasingly used straight lines in their work, believing furniture design needed to maintain curvature, which contributed to a homely look.