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Who is Bodil Kjær, the Danish design pioneer?

The venerable Italian publishing house Cassina has chosen to reissue three pieces by Bodil Kjær. Born 90 years ago in Hatting, Jutland, the Danish designer and architect grew up divided between her native country, the United States, and England, where she studied at the Royal College of Art. In the 1960s, she set up her own business, creating two studios in London and Copenhagen. Inspired by the modernism of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she designed furniture as architectural elements to meet specific needs and solve problems of a functional and aesthetic nature. Among her key pieces, the very elegant “Crosses” vases for Holmegaard, but also and above all her famous desk in steel and ash, recognizable among thousands thanks to its delicate metal legs on which its wooden top seems to float. Now published by the Danish company Karakter, the desk was designed for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later gained a quarter of an hour of fame by appearing in the James Bond saga, then performed on the BBC set. In addition to her incredibly rich career as a designer, Bodil Kjær also worked for the development of the city of Aarhus, where she now lives, before going on to teach in the United States in the 1980s. A flourishing and unfortunately little-known trajectory, which makes her one of the great names in Scandinavian design.

Lisa Agostini