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Business and economic historians will greatly welcome the publication of Per Hansen’s masterly history of Danish modern furniture. The originality and extent of the empirical research behind the book is outstanding, but the fundamental contribution is the compelling re-writing of existing explanations of the global success of this category. Hansen recasts the story of Danish furniture in terms of cultural entrepreneurship, and explores how tastes and fashion were shaped by a cultural brand narrative. This methodology makes the book relevant far beyond specialists in Danish furniture. It is a landmark publication in business history.
Geoffrey Jones, Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Harvard Business School
The translation of Per H. Hansen’s magisterial history of Danish modern furniture has been eagerly awaited for some time. The book presents a refreshing perspective from a business historian who weaves together ideas about image, branding, and national identity to reposition the standard narrative of modern Danish furniture. Thoroughly researched and clearly argued, it makes valuable archival information available to the English reader for the first time and will become a standard reference on the subject.
Bobbye Tigerman, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator, Decorative Arts and Design, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monica Obniski, Demmer Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design, Milwaukee Art Museum
Per H. Hansen’s book is an invaluable text for anyone wanting to understand why ‘mid-century modern’ is making a comeback in a different century and rapidly capturing markets and minds. And, the answer the book provides is not just about fashion cycles, aesthetic value, or popular culture, but a deep and insightful account of how narrative and materiality interact to transform creative expression into commercial and cultural reality. This comprehensive business history of the rise, fall, and rise again of Danish Modern design is for academics, design professionals, critics, and enthusiasts alike. Rarely comes along a book that adequately speaks to such a wide-ranging audience.
Mukti Khaire, Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice at Cornell Tech and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Professor Per H. Hansen’s book on Danish modern furniture design sheds new light on what has become an internationally well-known phenomenon. While scholars and others have offered different explanations of Danish Modern’s success, Per H. Hansen’s great achievement is the combination of a number of approaches and his close reading of original sources. From the combination of business history, design history, material culture and sociology a new understanding of Danish Modern’s rise, decline and re-emergence as a cultural market category comes to light. I am confident that this book will appeal to a big audience.
Anne-Louise Sommer, Director of Designmuseum Danmark and adjunct professor of design culture and history at the University of Southern Denmark.