After wallowing in images of campaign furniture for the last three years, it became clear to me that many of its core principles – clean design, good joinery, nice wood – had been grafted onto the Danish Modern style.
Some of the connections are obvious, such as the relationship between the Roorkee chair and Kaare Klint’s Safari Chair, which I point out in my book “Campaign Furniture.” But today, Caleb James made another important connection between the two styles.
Caleb has long been a fan and a maker of Danish Modern furniture, though now he focuses more on planemaking and Windsor chairs.
Caleb sent me photos of a secretary by Peter Hvidt (1916–1986), which has many of the hallmarks (or perhaps vestigial organs) of campaign furniture. A little more research turned up some other close stylistic connections between Hvidt’s designs and those from the Victorian campaign style. Let’s take a look.
1. It’s a dresser on a low stand. Like campaign pieces, Hvidt’s case pieces commonly have a plinth that mimics the turned feet that are common on campaign pieces.
2. Recessed pulls. Like campaign pieces, Hvidt’s “pulls” are recessed into the case and suggest the traditional swan-neck pulls on old chests of drawers – just like campaign pieces.
3. A horizontal line between the cases. Though most of Hvidt’s cases don’t break down into two separate carcases, he put in a blade in the middle of the case that echos the division of the two case pieces in campaign furniture.
4. Excellent joinery. Hvidt’s cases are characterized by strong joinery, such as finger joints and dovetails. Campaign stuff is all about joinery that can survive rough treatment.
5. Nice wood. Lots of Hvidt’s pieces are wide teak boards. Lots of campaign pieces are wide teak boards.
Here are some other Hvidt pieces to explore.
Thanks to Caleb for sending these on. More research to come….
— Christopher Schwarz