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Povl Eskildsen

Povl EskildsenLike many in the furniture industry, Denmark resident Povl Eskildsen grew up in the business. His family had a small furniture factory and Eskildsen earned his pocket money there while he learned how to work with wood and about the various manufacturing processes.

"Here, my upbringing has been a great advantage for me, both having a deep knowledge on materials and how to process them," he said.

Influenced by designers like the Scottish Charles Rennie Mackintosh, pioneer of the Modern Movement in Scotland, and Hans Wegner, a cabinetmaker and furniture designer, Eskildsen also favors the modern designs of Charles and Ray Eames. According to Eskildsen, the Eames' designs were "an ongoing experiment in construction and form."

With knowledge gained from the family factory, Eskildsen headed to the Architect School's Furniture Department and graduated in 1986, immediately opening up his own studio. In fact, Eskildsen's first product designed to complete graduation requirements — a sculptured chair for a music hall — went into production.

"In the first years, I built many prototypes myself and this ability is important in the understanding of production," Eskildsen said. "I like things to have harmony and be beautiful. I like things to be clean, obvious and, of course, fulfill a purpose. When working with a project, inspiration comes from the library in the back of the head and details from everyday life."

His first entry into the casual furniture industry was with Skagerak Denmark, formerly known as Trip Trap, a Denmark-based manufacturer of teak furniture and accessories.



 Eskildsen's design, the Riviera lounger for Skagerak Denmark, formerly Trip Trap

  The Nexus lounger for Gloster       

He started to design for the company in 1989 and some of Eskildsen's products are still in production today, like the Riviera Lounger, a contemporary teak chaise that also can be transformed into a bench or table.

His next project brought him to partner with Gloster Furniture. As a member of an old exhibition group in Denmark/Copenhagen, Eskildsen was exhibiting a small folding chair in 1990 at the Carpenters Autumn Exhibition when Gloster approached him.

The following year, Gloster introduced Eskildsen's Weston folding chair to its collection, now seen as an archetype for folding chairs, featuring gently curved slats for lumbar support and comfortable seating. Another notable introduction for Gloster by Eskildsen was the Kingston Collection that includes a lightweight chair with a clean appearance. Defined by its tactile, shaped arms and contoured seat and back, the chair has slats laid front to back for comfort.

Both the Weston and Kingston designs are near and dear to Eskildsen. "(They've) become archetypes in their categories," he said. "Not least the Riviera sunbed, it was different then, and still today it is the favorite among architects, probably more in Europe than the U.S."

Since 1994, Eskildsen said he has worked "almost full-time" on a freelance basis for Gloster.

The company introduced another Povl Eskildsen design last month during the Chicago premarket and will be shown next month during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market.

New for 2007, the Anassa Collection features two distinct versions — a lighter line featuring woven panels and a darker line with less woven and a variety of backs.

Described by Eskildsen as a modern Colonial line, the Anassa Collection was inspired by the movie Out of Africa and marks Gloster's largest product launch with 19 total items.

"I wanted to create an atmosphere from that time," he said. "It's a modern interpretation.

Eskildsen finds wood a satisfying and challenging material to create with. "I prefer wood and, here, teak is superior, durable, smooth and has beautiful grains," he said. "Wood is at the same time much more challenging than steel or aluminum, as it is much more difficult to maintain both freedom and a strength in construction."

And when Eskildsen's creative well runs dry, he likes to take a break, vacation for a week or two (Bali was suggested by Eskildsen's 4-year-old daughter), and ski.

 The Cantante chair by Eskildsen was a design he created to complete graduation requirements. The chair went into production.

 The new Anassa Collection for Gloster

 The Cantante chair by Eskildsen was a design
he created to complete graduation requirements.
The chair went into production.

 The new Anassa Collection for Gloster


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