Jørgen Gammelgaard had a distinguished career as designer, educator, and humanitarian. Following the footsteps of Hans Wegner, he apprenticed in a furniture design workshop and worked for Arne Jacobsen, among others. As a consultant to the United Nations, he was influenced by indigenous designs he found in his travels to Ceylon, the Sudan, and Samoa and designed the celebrated Tip Top Lamp while living in the South Pacific. From 1987 until his death in 1991, he was a professor of furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, a prestigious position previously held by Jacobsen, Kaare Klint and Pjoul Kjærholm.
Gammelgaard has left a legacy of well-conceived, artful, and varied furniture. He created one of his most popular pieces, the Crestrail chair (reminiscent of Hans Wegner’s Round Chair (1950) for its similar but more substantial curving top rail) designed for entrepreneur Børg Schiang, in the 1980s; the chair legs, with their unusual triangular footprint, are connected in an X-shaped seat support. The Schiang Collection also included Gammelgaard’s tables, desks, filing cabinets, and desktop organizer. Other innovations include his Deck Chair for Rodolfo Dordoni, a sleek lounge resting on a round base, and the Mobile rocking chair for Erik Jørgensen with its continuous curving armrests.