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Finn Juhl's American Dream: the relaunch of the Kettelhut Chair

As with many of Finn Juhl's designs, this year's relaunch is surrounded by a certain mystique. The chair, designed by Finn Juhl in 1951, is known in the vintage market as SW 86, named after its original Danish manufacturer, Søren Willadsen Møbelfabrik. However, driven by international aspirations, Finn Juhl also sent the drawing of the chair to the American furniture manufacturer Baker Furniture. The company launched and relaunched several of his designs in the early 1950s, but for unknown reasons, this particular chair never made it into their collection.

Now, the chair is being relaunched by House of Finn Juhl under the new name 'Kettelhut' at the design festival 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen. The new name honours Mary Ellen Kettelhut, the former Vice President of Marketing at Baker Furniture, who owns the original watercolour drawing that Finn Juhl sent to Baker Furniture in 1951.

Background story
When Finn Juhl sketched the chair with the characteristic, broad, and embracing armrests, he already knew it was one of the pieces he wanted to reach beyond Denmark's borders. The chair has a distinctive design, and he explicitly noted on the drawing: 'Production and sales rights abroad reserved for Finn Juhl.' This allowed him to confidently put the chair into production in Denmark while also sending the drawing of the design to Baker Furniture in Michigan, USA.

SW 86 comes to life and gets a new name
In 2021, House of Finn Juhl was contacted by Mary Ellen Kettelhut, who wrote that she owned an original Finn Juhl watercolour drawing. The drawing of the SW 86 immediately captured the interest of House of Finn Juhl. Mary Ellen Kettelhut is the former Vice President of Marketing at Baker Furniture and she received the watercolour as a gift from her former employer.

Hans Henrik Sørensen, co-founder of House of Finn Juhl, recounts: 'Mary Ellen Kettelhut asked if we were interested in the watercolour as she had retired from a long career in furniture, most recently with Herman Miller. After several pleasant conversations, she decided to keep the drawing, and I promised that if we put the chair into production, we would name it after her.'

More information:
Finn Juhl
[email protected]

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