Crafting the Present reveals manufacturing techniques behind mid-century furniture classics


The 3 Days of Design exhibition from Danish furniture brand Fredericia reveals how iconic designs by Hans J Wegner and Børge Mogensen have been subtly adapted in line with today’s standards.

On show at the Fredericia headquarters in Copenhagen, Crafting the Present showcases the craft processes, tools and makers behind the brand’s furniture.

Crafting the Present by Fredericia
Crafting the Present is on show for 3 Days of Design

Curated by designer Maria Bruun, the exhibition shows how designs including Wegner’s Ox Chair and Mogensen’s Spanish Chair have been carefully reworked in line with modern manufacturing technologies and environmental standards.

Rasmus Graversen, CEO of Fredericia, believes it is important for design classics to move with the times.

Wegner Ox Chair in production
The exhibition reveals the processes behind designs including Hans J Wegner’s Ox Chair

“We sometimes need to challenge the way we do things; something that was good 50 years ago isn’t necessarily good now,” he explained during a tour of the show.

“If you don’t have a culture of craft in your company, you might think the way that something was done in the past is the only right way.”

Wegner Ox Chair in production
Leather upholstery techniques are showcased in the exhibition

Graversen, who is also the grandson of brand founder Andreas Graversen, wanted the exhibition to highlight how this culture of craft is at the heart of Fredericia’s approach.

The company has a specialist upholstery workshop in Svendborg, south Denmark, a facility that was established by Erik Jørgensen in 1954 and acquired by Fredericia in 2020.

Crafting the Present by Fredericia
The show includes live demonstrations from makers

The exhibition includes live demonstrations from both the workshop production team and from artisans at leather manufacturer Tärnsjö Garveri.

Crafting the Present also showcases the tools used in these production processes, alongside models that reveal how the furniture pieces are assembled.

“We wanted to showcase the talented craftsmen and women whose hands touch every piece of furniture,” Bruun said.

“Here, craft is not a marketing gimmick. It is not a layer added onto the furniture afterwards. It is the heritage of this company and has an influence on everything.”

Tools
Tools are presented alongside models

“All of the tools you see are used for real,” added Graversen. “Nothing was picked just because it’s pretty.”

“These are all used in the actual production; it’s an extraordinary experience to see what happens.”

Crafting the Present by Fredericia
Rasmus Graversen, CEO of Fredericia, wanted to celebrate the brand’s culture of craft

Textile curtains suspended from the ceiling provide a scenography that divides the space into different sections.

Metal trolleys create multi-level displays, while larger models are raised up on trestles.

Crafting the Present by Fredericia
The Maria Bruun-designed Pioneer stool provides seating

The Pioneer, a design developed by Bruun for Fredericia in 2023, is also featured.

Dotted through, the stool provides seating so that visitors can spend time watching the artisans at work.

Crafting the Present is on show for of 3 Days of Design, which takes place in Copenhagen from 12 to 14 June. For more events, exhibitions and talks in architecture and design visit Dezeen Events Guide.



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