Design & Decoration S04 ep7 : Ole Hostbo, Dansk Mobelkunst Gallery, [Denmark]

Interview with Ole Hostbo

Dansk Møbelkunst gallery specializes in 20th Century Scandinavian design. The gallery is a leading authority in Danish historical design from 1920–1970, with particular emphasis on rare modernist furniture and lighting. Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery specializes in rare, original works of Danish furniture that were created during 1920-70, when a circle of craftsmen, architects and designers erased the distinction between works of art and functional equipment for everyday life.Established by Ole Høstbo in 1992, Dansk Møbelkunst takes its’ name from the Danish word for Furniture Art, a term that is rooted in the handicraft tradition and signifies a synthesis of aesthetics, utility and craftsmanship. During the twentieth century, møbelkunst evolved from the reproduction of historical styles to the creation of truly modern furniture that relied on beautiful materials, rather than applied decoration, and finely-crafted details for its’ aesthetic value. The gallery’s expertise encompasses both handcrafted masterpieces and iconic works of industrial design. ."


MobelKunst is a gallery that I started twenty years ago in Copenhagen.Today we are second
place in Paris, we opened ten years ago and we have a third place in Zurich, Switzerland, that
we opened two years ago. 15:38

It started as, I think it does for most dealers, it's a passion. You start as a collector, you collect
things and suddenly you have a bit too much and you start selling a few pieces and suddenly
you're a gallerist.15:59

I was studying in international politics and went to University Copenhagen.I started this in my
spare time and my plan was to, when I open my first little gallery, I could do it in the
afternoons, when i was reading. But it was quickly successful and took all my time. 16:23

This furniture has always been extremely expensive. My parents couldn't afford a huge number
of the pieces, but we had a couple of things at home. 16:39

Henry Dunay Jewellery

What is very special for Danish furniture, different with Swedish and Venice furniture is that in
the late twenties, the architect school got a professor who was also a furniture designer. He
trained his students in this, what we call now a days, Scandinavian design or Danish furniture
design,was very simple, very elegant lines and very functional furniture. His designer started to
work together with the Frenchman.Small cabinetmakers in and around Copenhagen and every
year they made an exhibition, every year they had to come up with something new and
interesting. So actually there was no marketing,there was no money, it was small cabinetmakers
with very limited production and it's actually the other way around. That the quality and the
very good design was recognized internationally and that's how the Danish furniture later
became very popular.17:51

It was always a fight between the cabinet maker and the designer. Fight in a good way of
course, because the designers wanted to have extremely,thin, elegant fine lines and of course,
the craftsman wants something that last forever.They were able to strength the wood to the limit
of what was possible, but we can see now, after it is sixty, seventy, eighty years, they still last,
they just as good as they were when they were made.18:30

Henry Dunay Jewellery

For the lighting, it was Paul Henning, the big Danish lamp designer and for the furniture it
started with Carl Clin, who was a professor at the academy and also furniture designer, his
students among Finule, Morganson,EarlMorganison, Hans baker those are the big names today
and they come from the golden age of Danish furniture making.19:05

The best pieces are very valuable. They range from something like ten thousand Euros up to
two hundred, three hundred thousand Euro. Some of them is one of a kind and others may be an
addition of three or five and of course you have other pieces that are made in larger quantity
and they also come below the ten thousand Euro.19:37

Twenty years ago I was in a flea market South of Copenhagen and I found the first type Yelkply
wood. It's a very rare chair, a chair with this, most of these big design museums, they have an
example and this was the perfect type that turned up on a flea market. I paid a couple of dollars
for it. It's long time ago, I sold it quickly also, for a very small money, but I heard it changed
hands many times since and the price is enormous today. 20:17

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I found a group of extremely rare Paul Dennison spiral wall lights. They came out of the theatre
in the West part of Denmark.The design is specially for the theatre, simple in the design but it's
fantastic lights, very elegant. End of last year one of them broke, they were break up and
reached more than four hundred thousand dollars.20:49

Not long ago, we spoke with retired doctor, who worked in Denmark for the America army,
right after the war. He loved the Danish furniture design, so he went into one of the small
cabinetmaker's and ordered furniture for his whole house and it was very rare furniture by the
Danish designers,very class. He offered them to us and of course we were extremely happy and
we bought everything from him but he also had all invoices, old letters from the cabinet maker,
must have been a big customer at the time.21:37

Henry Dunay Jewellery

He had a unique chest of drawers up for sale at the Biennial in Paris two years ago. It was made
by the two Danish designers, Tobi and Evnakeglas, married couple and they designed this chest
of drawers 1948, for the cabinetmaker say yearly, it was all in the newspapers and it has been
hidden ever since and certainly it turns up, we buy it, we offered for sale at the Biennial,
customer came in, he asked us if we could, if we had two, because they needed a pair and we
said no, it's impossible, it's just one. He said ok I'll buy it anyway. In a few weeks later, we
heard that he had this cabinet maker copying it and making the second one. 22:33

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Ole Hostbo, Dansk Moelkunst Gallery, Denmark