Today, Arne Jacobsen is considered one of the great pioneers in the design movement that became known as Danish Modern – a style of minimalist furniture and housewares, and an approach to design based on an appreciation of classical craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body. Initially dreaming of becoming an artist, Jacobsen had an eye for beauty, yet as an architect and designer he was later known as a pragmatist who never compromised on functionality, always striving to make beauty and practical considerations go hand in hand.
Arne Jacobsen’s own residence in Charlottenlund north of Copenhagen is, in many ways, the perfect testament to his unique talents as well as solid proof of the notion of modernity that came to characterise his work from the mid-1920s to his death in 1971. The iconic white building from 1929 is the first house that Jacobsen built, and he lived here with his wife and two sons until 1943 when he, due to his Jewish background, had to go into exile to escape the Nazis’ planned deportation of Jewish Danes. He fled Denmark, rowing a small boat across the Øresund to neighbouring Sweden where he would shelter for the next two years. When the war ended in 1945, Jacobsen returned to Denmark and resumed his architectural career.
Arne Jacobsen’s bold and modern house was a personal as well as professionally important project. It was later celebrated as one of the very first original examples of early international functionalism, and it is said to have led to his renowned masterpieces, such as the Bellavista residential complex and Bellevue Teater (The Bellevue Theater).