For those who are not familiar Jens Risom was a mid century furniture and interior designer whose designs are so good they have come full circle and are highly desirable today (2020).
He was born in Denmark in May of 1916. At age 20 Risom relocated to New York City to study American design. At that time he did not have success as a furniture designer, so he worked in textiles. Eventually he met designer Dan Cooper which lead to great highlights in his career.
In 1941, Risom and Hans Knoll launched the Hans Knoll Furniture Company which produced stools, armchairs and lounges, made from cedar and surplus webbing, which have become design classics and are still manufactured today.
In 1943 Risom was drafted into the Army and served under George Patton. After his military service, Risom returned to Knoll in New York, and soon after launch his own firm, Jens Risom Design (May 1946).
One of Risom’s most memorable advertising campaigns was in 1950 when they created the slogan “The Answer is Risom.” Other notables were in 1961 when Risom was one of six furniture designers featured in a profile in Playboy magazine. Another highlight was when one of Risom’s executive office chairs was selected by Lyndon B. Johnson for use in the Oval Office.a
After 25 years in business Risom sold his firm to Dictaphone in 1970. He stayed on as CEO for several years, then relocated from New York to Connecticut and launched a consulting service named “Design Control”.
Risom died at his home in Connecticut, at the age of 100. He will be missed but his designs live on. His sofas and chairs are highly valuable and highly desired, although they are hard to find. For example, the off White sofa shown above is estimated to be in the range of $30,000.00 although you do get two matching club chairs along with the sofa.
A good general rule is to always keep your eye out for walnut furnishings. Then look for the manufacturer’s name either under or on the back of the piece.
Jens chairs typically have unique angles. Once you get a sense of his style, you can easily spot them. There is a market for Risoms credenzas, walnut waste paper baskets, tables, desks, and benches so if you own any Jen Risom pieces we can help you. Depending on the piece, it could be suitable for auction, consignment, or we may just have a collector that will purchase your item without any fuss at all.