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Kristian Illum Wikkelsø is a Danish furniture designer. He belonged to the generation of designers who in the 1950s and 1960s did the Danish Design into a worldwide phenomenon. Wikkelsø was first trained as a carpenter in 1938. Then he studied further at the School of Applied Arts, from which he left in 1941. He was an employee of Jacob Kjær and in duo Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard. In 1954, he created his own studio, Illum Wikkelsø. Over the years, he has taken several different types of furniture, which today have become classics. Among the best known are his rocking chair and recliner model V11.
He has worked with N. Eilersen, Holger Christiansen and Farstrup Sawmill and Stolefabrik. An important partner was CF Christensen, Silkeborg for whom he designed the Plexus series and other light seats
The rich, organic quality of his designs found on the vintage market affirms his status as an active proponent of Scandinavian modernism in the postwar era.
Like most Danish designers at the time, Wikkelsø studied cabinetry, graduating from the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts. In 1944, Wikkelsø moved to Århus to work as an interior designer.
n 1954 he began designing his own furniture and, a few years later, established a workshop. Like many of his Danish contemporaries - Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, and Hans Wegner, for example - Wikkelsø’s designs emphasize formal simplicity and biomorphic silhouettes. Wikkelsø’s background in cabinetry engendered in him a profound understanding of materials and an excellent attention to detail. Working with teak and rosewood, he captured delicately sculptural forms. Wikkelsø believed that furniture should be built to last while cradling the body and pleasing the eye.
Well-known designs from Wikkelsø’s career include T118 Coffee Table (ca. 1950s), Gyngestol Rocking Chair (1958), and Model 91 Lounge Chair and Ottoman for Mikael Laursen (ca. 1959), among others. A number of Danish manufacturers produced Wikkelsø’s designs, such as C.F. Christensen, Holger Christiansen, Eilersen, Farstrup, Silkeborg, and Søren Willadsen.