sourcing scandinavian modern furniture


H. Brockmann Petersen Tipvogn chairs

Money Magazine recently published a national poll that asked people to list their 3 top challenges when remodeling or renovating their house. Pollsters responded:

  1. Finding acceptable products
  2. Selecting style
  3. Agreeing with your spouse

It was interesting to note that in the age where everybody thinks they can do everything themselves because everything can be found online – both in products and inspiration – people responded as they did.



Ole Wanscher lounge chairs

The answers just re-enforced why the services of an interior designer such as myself IS money well spent. It is my job to cut through all the distracting noise and guide my clients towards a style that works for their lifestyle. Because I continually visit showrooms, trade fairs and have artisans seek me out with new designs, I know EXACTLY where to source great products that are far from being “run-of-the-mill”. Occasionally I have even been known to save a marriage or two by mediating between competing spouses!!!

But today I want to introduce you to just one of those sources that is not “run-of-the-mill” and is hard to find because they have no brick-and-mortar store nor their own stand alone online presence because they don’t have to. VANCE founded by Vance Trimble in NYC, focuses on finding and offering Nordic Modern Master furniture. The guy has a great eye for the unusual and offers quality pieces that you are definitely not going to see everywhere else.



Ole Wanscher Egyptian folding stools

Sourcing Scandinavian modern furniture does not appear to be a challenge these days since it seems to be in every shop and showroom today, but there is a huge difference in first tier pieces and the mass produced furniture, re-issues and knock-offs that flood local second-hand stores and websites.

I was recently looking for chairs for a project and was reminded why I love Scandinavian design – sleek clean lines, beautiful hardwoods, and interesting visual appeal – all the makings of my perfect room. H. Brockmann Petersen’s pair of “Tipvogn” chairs (first image) have just the strong angular frames that really anchor a seating area. A pair opposite a low-slung sofa would create a fab living room. And although designed in 1953, they still have a great modern style.



Ola Molgaard-Nielsen sheepskin lounge chairs

For a more classic look, I would try the lounge chairs by Ole Wanscher for A.J. Iversen from the 1940s. Covered in a rich buttery goat hide, they ooze that sophistication we associate with the waning years of the Deco period. I also wouldn’t count out the uber comfy lounge chairs designed by Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen in 1937. The wooly sheepskin covering just oozes comfort. And what a great contrast their white bodies would be in a room filled with colorful textiles.



Grete Jalk daybed

The fun thing about going through the inventory of a gallery like VANCE when sourcing Scandinavian modern furniture is that you find things you didn’t even know you needed. Many times I have gone into a shop for one thing and come out with something completely different which has then led to a whole new take on a project.

Grete Jalk’s teak and alpaca daybed from the 1950s is exactly the type of piece that I could build a room around: it would be perfect to separate a living and dining space in an open concept New York apartment. A pair of these amazing “Egyptian Folding Stools” again by Ole Wanscher dating to 1957 would look stunning in an entry hall or even used at the foot of a bed. Or for a more traditional look, you definitely couldn’t go wrong with a teak bench by Hans Wegner for the same spaces.



Hans Wegner bench

One thing you may have noticed about the scandinavian modern furniture shown today is that they are not all names you easily recognize. Trimble does his homework and can tell you everything you could ever want to know about the pieces he selects, including designers, makers and exhibition history. VANCE is a great source for Scandinavian modern furniture because you can be assured that you are buying the real period pieces, and not later reproductions.

I leave you with a valuable tip: find trustworthy sources and rely on an experienced interior designer to help you to get the best out of your next renovation project.



Ole Wanscher chairs

Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising.

image credits: scandinavian modern furniture: Vance Trimble, New York City.