Danish designer Nanna Diztel, celebrated for her post-modern and innovative work on everything from furniture to textile to jewellery, famously said, “It is very important to take into account the way a chair’s appearance combines with the person who sits in it. Some chairs look like crutches. And I don’t like them at all.”
She wasn’t one to beat around the bush (and why is it that all Danish designers have a quotation about chairs? See also: Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, et al). Ditzel’s designs, following in the grand tradition of Scandinavian design, combine both form and function to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
While her work spans the 1950s to the early 2000s, Nanna Ditzel’s most prolific and celebrated period was during the 1990s. It was during this time, in 1993, Ditzel presented the Trinidad series, produced by Fredericia Furniture.
Using cutting-edge Computer Numerical Control technology (CNC) that allows for digitalised mapping and precise application of laser-cutting, she made a chair that takes the idea of minimalism through a loop. After all, she is cutting away at the material, yet the decorative nature of the empty space is contrary to the principle. The resulting chair is at once sleek and dynamic, with a unique responsiveness to shadow and light. The design itself is inspired by the “Gingerbread facades” of Trinidad, where intricate and painstaking fretwork gives the homes a light and playful profile.
The Trinidad series was immediately successful and remains so to this day. The original plywood, while still sturdy, is now definitely showing its age, with a deep yellow color grade that is typical of wooden items from the 90s. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the chair, and to make some other material and color options available, Fredericia has relaunched the series including the original chair, a model that include armrests, and a stool version.
The new Trinidad chairs come in oak, smoked oak, ash, beech, maple and walnut woods, with a variety of colors and finishes of steel frame. They can be upholstered in a number of fabrics or leathers, and are also available painted in a wide range of colors.
The Trinidad is a chair that looks as comfortable on its own at a desk as it does in a group of six around a dining table. The original chair is stackable, making it useful for small space apartments as well. The design is extremely comfortable (it’s a favorite for event spaces and concert halls), timeless, and iconic.
At a design event recently, I overheard a design expert noting the “solid yet boring” work of Nanna Ditzel. I was shocked, and couldn’t disagree more. Ditzel’s work remains as engaging and ebullient today as it was 25 years ago, and public demand only furthers the point. Fredericia Furniture’s re-release of the series is sure to amplify what is already a truly special silhouette.
Find out more about Nanna Ditzel’s work and the Trinidad series.
Photography by Freya McOmish.