Arne Jacobsen & Gesamkunstwerk : Unifying Architecture, Interior Design, & Industrial Design

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Yesterday evening Fritz Hansen’s Henrik Hjorth, Adrian Pollack, and Hans Thure Mannerhagen shared their expertise regarding the design and craft of Arne Jacobsen.  One word stood out for me in the presentation- gesamkunstwerk.  Gesamkunstwerk is Danish for creating a comprehensive artwork/design/plan, etc.  German speakers know it as gesamtkunstwerk, and has roots in 19C. philosophy, opera, and early 20C. architecture.

The idea is simple-  unify the elements to create a cohesive aesthetic.  To deliver on that challenge is no small task.  When Arne Jacobsen designed the Royal SAS in Copenhagen, he was the architect, the interior designer, and the industrial designer behind the entire effort.  He was responsible not only for the building, but the materials, furniture, textiles, & even cutlery of the restaurant.  Not every design he created in the process is considered classic, but that commitment to producing a diverse array of work made him great Over the course of his career he created a phenomenal number of classics still in production today.

It’s inspiring to think about the challenge of creating unity in the work we pursue.  What’s your gesamkunstwerk?

Thanks again to Fritz Hansen, and Inform Interiors.

-Pensar Design

Hans Thure Mannerhagen, Fritz Hansen’s master upholsterer, puts the finishing touches on a leather Egg Chair.

FritzHansen sq Hans Thure Mannerhagen