Poul Volther

2 January 1923 - 23 January 2001

Photo of Poul Volther
Volther, like other Danish designers such as Borge Mogensen, first trained as a cabinet maker before studying at Copenhagen's Arts and Crafts School. He then went on to work under Mogensen at the collective FDB, taking over the reins on Mogensen's departure in 1959.

Focusing on simple designs using fine materials, Volther's work - Windsor chairs, armchairs and sofas - drew heavily on functional design. His signature style involved using a number of cushions interspersed with open spaces, in order to create a chair using maximum efficiency of materials that were scarce and hard to find after World War Two.

Without a doubt, Volther's most iconic creation was the Corona Chair, whose popularity remains today. However, the creation of this piece was not without its problems.

The first model was the Pyramid Chair, created in 1953 with very little commercial or critical success. Crafted from foam and cloth, its expected popularity never materialised - but it was on the design of this model that the Corona Chair was founded.

It was in 1961 that the first variant of the Corona Chair was unveiled: a wooden frame that supported a number of individual cushions that formed the seat and back, with Volther's inspiration taken from time lapse photographs of solar eclipses. Volther wanted to create a chair that would allow the user to be comfortable in a range of different positions, but without success. Three years later he collaborated with the Erik Jørgensen furniture factory to launch a new version that used a chrome-plated steel frame in place of the previous wooden alternative, but again without a great deal of success.

Over the years, Jørgensen's factory persisted in trying to market the Corona Chair, with yet another new version presented around 20 years later. It wasn't until the model presented at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair and the Cologne Furniture Fair that the chair became popular, leading it to be used at the EU Summit in Copenhagen in 2002, a year after Volther's death. Now, the Corona Chair continues to be produced with a great deal of commercial success: an iconic chair whose designer's persistence finally paid off.

Products by this designer