Jørgen Kastholm Dies at 76

Jørgen Kastholm, the Danish architect and furniture designer whose collaborations with the architect Preben Fabricus yielded such midcentury icons as the Grasshopper and Scimitar chairs, has died in Denmark after a short illness, according to the manufacturer Lange Production. He was 76.

Kastholm’s career included stints with Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen, and Ole Hagen, but it was with Fabricus that he saw his greatest success, designing elegant organic-shaped furniture set atop swooping spindly legs. Kastholm’s seating furnishes more than 120 airports worldwide, and much of the partners’ 1960s output was recently released by Lange, using the same factory and tooling that produced the originals. Metropolis spoke with Kastholm at last year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair, in New York, on the occasion of Scimitar’s reissue.

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Born Again
By Kelly McMasters

At Modernlink’s 2006 ICFF booth, a chair of leather and steel spun slowly atop a slender pole. The display announced the return of Scimitar, a design that had been shelved for 22 years. A collaboration between architect Preben Fabricius, who died in 1984, and 75-year old Jørgen Kastholm, Scimitar was originally unveiled at the Copenhagen Museum of Industrial Arts in 1963. “Look how full I am,” Kastholm says of the reproduction, with tears in his eyes. “It’s like being reborn.”

Gert Auhagen, owner of Danish manufacturer Bo-ex Furniture, bought the production rights more than two decades ago, and it took almost that long for him to perfect the complicated fabrication process. The sole manufacturing change is invisible: a microchip implanted in the bentwood back to thwart copies and theft. That, along with the fact that every chair built requires a new mold since it breaks during production, makes it pricey. “We hope people will take pride in owning a little piece of perfect rather than a lot of almost,” Auhagen says.

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