I was so pleased and honored to have been invited by Helen Risom Belluschi to the 100th birthday celebration for her father, the furniture design legend Jens Risom. The party was Saturday in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Risom turned 100 on Sunday, May 8.
A native of Denmark, Risom was one of the first designers to bring Scandinavian values of function and craftsmanship to the United States when he arrived in 1939. He designed a number of furnishings for Knoll in the 1940s, many of which are now classics and still in production today. Knoll says: “The first true Knoll designer, Jens Risom joined the young Hans Knoll Furniture Company in the early 1940s as the sole designer of interiors and furniture.”
Risom left Knoll in 1943 to join the U.S. Army during World War II. He went on to establish his own company, Jens Risom Design, after the war. His own company’s furnishings combined high-quality craftsmanship with elegant design. In 1955, Risom hired fashion photographer Richard Avedon to photograph his latest furnishings for his catalogue, and the photographs captured the essence of midcentury modern design.
Here are scenes from the Risom birthday celebration.