Ditzel designed the table as an integrated part of her 1989 masterpiece, "Bench for Two". The quarter-circle shaped table with silkscreened print forms a table sculpture that can also be used independently as a side table.
Nanna Ditzel used the concept of “plus-values”, to describe her urge to create a more joyful and decorative environment. In the late 1980’s, Ditzel began to work against purely functionalist traditions and experimented with the potentials of materials in order to create personality. One of the results of this effort was the conceptual “Bench for Two”, which became Ditzel and Fredericia’s first joint project.
Ditzel designed the prototype for the bench in 1989. The radiating back with striking geometric decoration is made of 1.5 mm aeroplane plywood – an ultra-thin material that is strong, light and flexible. The inventive choice of material was typical of Ditzel, who always sought to challenge conventions.
In 1990, the town of Asahikawa in Japan was home to one of the biggest international furniture competitions on furniture design, with a jury made up of prominent architects: Mayumi Miyawaki, Toshiki Kita, Antti Nurmesniemi, Jonathan de Pas and Michael McCoy. Nanna Ditzel’s ‘Bench for Two’ beat out 472 other proposals and was awarded with the gold medal.
Made in Denmark
Nanna Ditzel (1923-2005), with her postmodernism attitude and rebellion against tradition, became a leading figure in the renewal of Danish design in the 1990's, well after her 70th birthday. Very often, her works had a subjective starting point, which was contrary to specific problems to be solved. However, she had a magnificent ability to transform her artistic dreams into very functional and purposeful designs.
Meeting Nanna Ditzel in person led to an irresistible urge to put her furniture in your home. In part due to her unparalleled innovative talent, but also in hopes that her personality would have had a contagious effect on your rooms. At an age when most other people have long since retired, the grand old lady of modern design continued to attract worldwide attention and she welcomed the inspiration that came from new materials and production methods.
Nanna Ditzel was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923. She trained as a cabinetmaker before going on to study at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She was always inspired by the challenges of new materials and techniques, and in the 50's she experimented with split-level floor seating. Nanna was a pioneer in the fields of fiberglass, wickerwork and foam rubber, and in various disciplines such as cabinet making, jewellery, tableware, and textiles. Nanna Ditzel designed the world’s most renowned furniture textile "Hallingdal" for Kvadrat.
From 1968 to 1986, Nanna lived in London where she established the international furniture house, Interspace, in Hampstead. In 1989 she became closely connected with Fredericia, beginning with "Bench For Two". The collaboration between Fredericia and Ditzel developed into a mutual partnership and the successful launch of the Trinidad chair in 1993 marked a turning point in Fredericia's history, establishing Nanna Ditzel as Fredericia's second house designer after Børge Mogensen. Nanna passed away in 2005, but her uncompromising approach remains a strong influence on Fredericia’s culture and product development.
For Ditzel, the aesthetics of the chair were just as important as function, citing, “It is very important to take into account the way a chair’s appearance combines with the person who sits in it. Some chairs look like crutches. And I don't like them at all.”
Nanna Ditzel was one of most renowned Danish designers, and throughout her life she was awarded numerous prizes including; in 1990, the Gold Medal in the International Furniture Design Competition, Japan, for “Bench for Two”, the ID-prize 1995 for “Trinidad”, which is Denmark’s highest design honour. She was Elected Honourable Royal Designer at Royal Society of Arts in London in 1996 and awarded the lifelong Artists' Grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1998.