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Kai Kristiansen

Danish, b. 1929

With a passion for math and engineering, Kai Kristiansen has created high-quality wood furniture for decades. Beginning in the 1950s, his chairs, modular shelving and other furnishings were made in the style that would become internationally renowned as Danish modern and boasted clean lines, perfected functionality and exacting craftsmanship.

Born in Denmark, Kristiansen trained in cabinetmaking before studying with Kaare Klint, often cited as the “father of modern Danish design,” at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. At just 26 years old, Kristiansen opened his own studio.

Kristiansen had his mid-century breakthrough in 1956 with the Chair #42, which he made with Schou Andersen. Unlike most other chairs at the time, Chair #42’s armrests, with their wealth of radical angles, were connected to the back rather than the front legs. This unconventional flourish makes the backrest appear as though it is floating in midair above the seat. Kristiansen’s next innovation was a modular wall system in 1957 — three years ahead of Dieter Rams’s more famous 606 Universal Shelving System. Called the Reolsystem Wall Unit, produced by SB Feldballes Møbelfabrik, it’s also known as the FM Wall Unit as FM/Fornem Møbelkunst began producing it in the 1960s. Kristiansen would go on to work with other leading Danish furniture manufacturers such as Magnus Olesen, Fritz Hansen and Vildbjerg Møbelfabrik, designing everything from chairs and desks to sideboards and cabinets, frequently in rosewood and teak. (The latter was a sought-after wood by Scandinavian modern designers.)

While many of Kristiansen’s timeless designs remain in production, such as his Paper Knife sofa, which was reintroduced by Miyazaki Chair Factory in 2008, and his 1950s Entré collection, which was relaunched with Great Dane Furniture in 2016, others are prized as vintage mid-century pieces. Today, Kristiansen is still at work on new furniture with an expert eye to thoughtfully functional designs that are made to last.

Find a collection of vintage Kai Kristiansen furniture on 1stDibs.

Iconic Designs from Kai Kristiansen
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
42 Chair
42 Chair
Model 31 Chair
Model 31 Chair
Paper Knife Chair
Paper Knife Chair
FM Reolsystem
FM Reolsystem
Kai Kristiansen Teak and Glass Coffee Table
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in DELRAY BEACH, FL
Mid-Century Modern coffee table by Kai Kristiansen. Made from solid teak wood and glass. Refinished. Gorgeous minimalist design offering a sleek and elegant profile. Simple and organ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Glass, Teak

Set of Six Restored Kai Kristiansen Rosewood Dining Chairs - Custom Upholstery
By Schou Andersen Møbelfabrik, Kai Kristiansen
Located in Knebel, DK
Set of six restored 1960s rosewood dining chairs with adjustable backrest by Kai Kristiansen for Schous Møbelfabrik. The chairs have Kai Kristiansens typical light and elegant desig...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Rosewood

Kai Kristiansen Leather Troja Armchair, c1960
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in London, GB
Kai Kristiansen 'Troja' round chair from circa 1960. The frame is made from Afromosia African teak wood. The seat has been reupholstered in premium aniline cognac brown leather.
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak, Leather

  • Kai Kristiansen Leather Troja Armchair, c1960
  • Kai Kristiansen Leather Troja Armchair, c1960
  • Kai Kristiansen Leather Troja Armchair, c1960
  • Kai Kristiansen Leather Troja Armchair, c1960
H 27.56 in. W 23.63 in. D 18.12 in.
1960s Danish Teak + Linen Pier Mirror with Storage Coat Rack Pouches Cabinmodern
By Kai Kristiansen, Aksel Kjersgaard
Located in Hyattsville, MD
Uncommon wall mirror design. A Minimalist Danish take on the Classic pier mirror. Teak pegs, cloth/linen lined with pockets. Measures: Actual mirror W 20.5 x H 39 in. Clothe area...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

Danish Modern Teak Cocktail End Table
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in San Diego, CA
Simple elegant Danish modern teak cocktail end table, versatile and great design beveled edge.
Category

20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Teak

  • Danish Modern Teak Cocktail End Table
  • Danish Modern Teak Cocktail End Table
  • Danish Modern Teak Cocktail End Table
  • Danish Modern Teak Cocktail End Table
H 17 in. W 14.5 in. D 14.5 in.
Kai Kristiansen Bow Fronted Brazilian Rosewood Chest of Drawers
By Kai Kristiansen
Located in Shepperton, Surrey
Wonderful little Brazilian rosewood chest of Drawers by Kai Kristiansen. An elegant bow fronted design with beautifully detailed drawer pulls. Very attractive and unusual whorled gra...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Rosewood

Chest of Drawers in Rosewood by Kai Kristiansen for Aksel Kjersgaard, Denmark
By Kai Kristiansen, Aksel Kjersgaard
Located in Goteborg, SE
Chest of drawers in rosewood by Kai Kristiansen for Aksel Kjersgaard, Denmark.
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Rosewood

Kai Kristiansen Rosewood Paper Knife Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1950s
By Kai Kristiansen, Magnus Olesen
Located in London, GB
Kai Kristiansen Pair of paper knife model lounge chairs, 1955. Produced by Magnus Olesen, Denmark in rosewood. New cushions upholstered in soft grey wool fabric.        
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kai Kristiansen

Materials

Wool, Rosewood

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Kai Kristiansen Sellers

Studio Schalling
4.9 / 5
Osted Antique & Design
4.7 / 5
Antyki Koneser Sp. z o.o.
4.9 / 5
Mid Century Mobler
4.8 / 5
20th Century Marks
4.9 / 5
Den Hvide Hest
5 / 5

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Kai Kristiansen Furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Furniture Kai Kristiansen are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our Kai Kristiansen Furniture collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are 269 vintage versions of these items in stock, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many original furniture by Kai Kristiansen were created in Europe during the 20th century in the Scandinavian Modern style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Ib Kofod-Larsen, Arne Vodder and Niels Otto Møller. Prices for Kai Kristiansen furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. 1stDibs's price starts at $200 and tops out at $21,621, while pieces like these can sell for $4,253.