Course Syllabus

Furniture Design in Scandinavia - EC/ÅJ

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Semester & Location:

Summer - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Corequisite Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:


Major Disciplines:

Architecture, Design, Industrial Design


Enrollment in a professional school or department of architecture or design. Two spatial design studios at university level. Experience with stationary power tools and hand tools.

Corequisite Course(s): 

Simultaneous enrollment in Furniture Design Studio (6-credit) and the lecture course, Furniture Design in Scandinavia (3-credits).

Faculty Members:

Åsa Johansson & Erling Christoffersen

Program Director:

Natalie Jeffers-Hansen,

Time & Place:

See syllabus below - lecture space V23-301


The calendar below refers solely to the activities in this 3-credit lecture course.

Refer to your studio Canvas pages for info on your 6-credit studio activities.

Description of Course

You will examine history, theory, key works, and current expressions of Scandinavian furniture design. The lecture course will also expose you to the history of manufacturing in post-industrial Scandinavia. Current and historical conditions of furniture design are presented along with the underlying design theories and methodologies. “Golden Age” designs from the middle of the 20th century are studied alongside trendy “New Nordic” designs of today. Fundamentals of furniture design, such as scale, dimension and proportion are presented along with the fundamentals of the production of furniture, whether it be the craft approach or the modern business based and industrialized approach.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an enhanced ability to formulate informed criticism on furniture design based on analytical exercises, readings, in-class discussions, field trips, and case studies
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of Scandinavian furniture design and production
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of selected Danish furniture designers and their contributions to the development of the characteristics of Scandinavian design


Åsa Johansson: Furniture Designer. Cabinetmaker in 1998. Denmark's Design School 2003. Freelance designer. Furniture and interior designer with Leif Jørgensen Architects. Lighting Designer with FLOS. With DIS since 2017.

Erling ChristoffersenArchitect MAA. Cabinetmaker, 1974. School of Applied Art Copenhagen, 1979. Royal Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, 1982. Own office, 1979. Professor at School of Architecture 1986-1989. Professor at Denmark’s Design School, Copenhagen, 1989-2005. Visiting professor University of Oregon 2005. Workshops at University of Victoria 2001, 2004, 2009. Distinguished visiting professor at University of Washington. Member of Cabinetmakers Autumn Exhibition (Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling). Member of Møbelsnedkerforeningen. With DIS since 1998.

Required & Suggested Texts

Reading material for the course to be found on DIS Canvas.

The readings include, but are not limited to:

  • Danish Design. Henrik Steen Møller, 1975 (on reserve in library)
  • de Grier, Nicolai. Chairs Tectonics. København: Arkitektens Forlag, 2009 (text book)
  • Krogh, Erik. Space - In and around the chair, København: Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling, 1984 (on Canvas)

Approach to Teaching

The course comprises lectures, field studies, and study tours. The course is organized vertically, meaning that students of different levels will be taught in the same class.  

Scale Model Assignment

Assignment 1 (The Scale Model Assignment) is an integral part of our endeavor to become better architects and designers and deals with studying and learning from precedents. The assignment is carried out in cross-disciplinary groups of 2-4 students. The assignment consists of an in-depth research and analysis of a specific chair and the construction of a scaled model. The result will be presented by the group at the first design concept review along with 2-3 individual design concepts in sketch form from each group member (see calendar). The framework for the research and analysis is an analytical model developed by Danish architect, Erik Nygaard, in his book Architecture Understood, from 2011. (Reading available on Canvas.)

Expectations of the Students

Students are expected to be fully engaged in lectures and discussions as well as in the group work. Required readings should be read before the applicable lecture. Students must check DIS Canvas daily. The most current schedule including last-minute changes will be maintained here. Readings and other relevant course material will be posted here.

Design Community

On Design Community on Canvas, which you have also been given access to, you can find department-wide resources, links and communication. Remember to check resources and announcements issued on Design Community throughout your time at DIS.

Evaluation & Grading

The final grade is determined on the basis of:



Attendance & Engagement + Scale Model Assignment


Attendance & Engagement: Attendance at all intros and lectures and active engagement in lectures and groupwork alike.

Scale Model Assignment evaluated on basis of:

• Research: Case study is supported with well-planned, relevant and extensive research drawn from a variety of sources and with clear, academic and thorough documentation of all sources of information.

• Content: Group presents accurate & relevant information, including knowledge covering all four aspects of the model of interpretation, producing a creative and reflective analysis and a well-crafted scale model/data visualization

• Delivery: The final presentation is well-organized with a clear and logical flow, effective introduction and conclusion, creative and visually engaging, and with a smooth inclusion of and transition between speakers

The Scale Model Assignment is presented in groups as part of Design Concept Review #1

To be eligible for a passing grade you must complete all of the assigned work

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due