Peter Hvidt & Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen
(1916-1986, 1907-1993, Danish)
Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen opened a furniture design office in 1944. Hvidt, who had trained as an architect and cabinetmaker at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, designed very traditional furniture throughout the 1940s. His one success before they formed the partnership was his Portex chair, which was one of the first stacking chairs to come out of Denmark. However, in 1950, Hvidt and Mølgaard-Nielsen designed the AX chair, which became the iconic piece of their careers. The AX was inspired by the work of Charles and Ray Eames and had a back of double curved laminated wood. It was produced by Fritz Hansen and came in several variations–with or without arms and either upholstered or with a wooden back and seat.
The AX chair is important in Danish design, because it opened up opportunities for mass-produced furniture, which ultimately made Denmark a leader in modern design. It also opened up export opportunities, because its back and seat could be removed for easy shipping.