The Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl

The Chieftan chair by Finn Juhl

Designed in 1949, The Chieftain chair is still one of Finn Juhl’s most sought after pieces. Rivalled only by the FJ 45. The Cheiftain chair is a fine example of Finn Juhl’s passion for aesthetics in his work.

Indeed he broke away from the Danish Modern Design ethos by prioritising aesthetics over function and had a particular interest in ensuring his pieces look beautiful from all angles – in some cases even favouring their backs.
Multiple angles of the Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl

‘Chairs have no face when someone is sitting in them. They are however still fully visible from the back, which of course needs to be worthy of display. And it must also be comfortable. One position may prove very comfortable – but certainly not all the time. You have to be able to shift position from time to time and that’s why my chairs are very spacious’ [Finn Juhl 1982]

Chieftain Chair by the fireplace
Finn-Juhl-sitting in The Chieftain Chair

The Chieftain chair was intended for Finn Jul’s lounge area with prime position in front of the fireplace. As Finn Juhl designed prototypes he was treated to a view of the back of the chair from the vantage point of his desk. His desire to make the Chieftain attractive from all angles has resulted in the extraordinary chair we know today. Finn Juhl was largely inspired by African art when designing the Chieftain chair, which is well known for its imposing throne-like quality.

Black-leather-Chieftain Chair_front
Black-leather-Chieftain Chair_back
Armrest-detail on The Chieftain Chair

The Chieftain chair was originally produced by Niels Vodder but only 75 copies were ever made by here. The chair has been in production by Hansen and Sørensen since 2002. The Chieftain was also produced by Søren Horn og Niels Roth Andersen for a spell and these versions tend to be more sought after and collectable than the current day versions from Hansen and Sørensen. Baker also had a run of producing the Chieftain but in a poorer quality and as such these are not as popular.