'First Movers': Modern Danish furniture with an ancient Egyptian twist

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 20 Jun 2019


Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany visited an exhibition titled ‘The First Movers’ at the Bazaar of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, which is organised within the framework of the Egyptian-Danish Dialogue Initiative in collaborate with the Egyptian Museum.

The exhibition includes 42 replicas of ancient Egyptian furniture, which have inspired many Danish furniture designers and architects throughout the years.

The exhibition put on display a table, a four-legged chair, a daybed, a stool and many more pieces.


The replicas of Egyptian furniture were made by Danish cabinetmaker and architect Dan Svarth, who has made more than 100 models of ancient furniture in 1.5 scale. In this exhibition, you will see 35 of them together with full scale modern Danish furniture.

“In the exhibition we pay tribute to these first developers of furniture and their skills in making all these types of furniture,” Svarth said.

Svarth started working on these models in 1985, when he was an associate professor of the furniture department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture.


As part of his research programme, Svarth studied the techniques of ancient Egyptian furniture makers.

Modern Danish furniture architects and designers looked at the Egyptian furniture to find inspiration, and this inspiration is clearly visible in some of the furniture from the “golden age” of Danish furniture design.


In this exhibition, you can see the inspiration from the Egyptian furniture makers in pieces by Danish architects Finn Juhl, Bernt Petersen, Ole Wanscher and Ole Gjerløv-Knudse.


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