Grete Jalk

A philosophy of design

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern
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Above: The current issue of Jalk’s  ‘GJ’ chairs and nesting tables first produced by Poul Jeppesen in 1963.

Some copy provided by Rand & Company

Danish designer and architect Grete Jalk was once, quite unbelievably, referred to by a critic at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Exhibition in the 1960s as a fine example of “the strong weaker sex.” Prolific and versatile, she was known both for her individual pieces and for her ability to create entire environments finely tuned to their inhabitant’s needs.

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern

Early Jalk design with this cane and wrought iron chair.

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern

Grete Jalk’s apartment with two laminated ply ‘GJ’ chairs and nesting tables.

After graduating from high school in modern languages and philosophy, Jalk was formally trained at the School of Arts and Crafts and went on to study at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. Though she took part in major exhibitions such as the Milan Triennial outside of Denmark, she made a name for herself with the designs she created from her own office for Fritz Hansen and Poul Jeppesen and during the 1960’s would become her signature works. Jalk designed several room sets for the new philosophies and equipment of the modern home and entered works at almost every Cabinetmaker’s exhibit throughout the 1950s and 1960s, each time responding to and introducing advancements in design.

Jalk's unique designed for a daybed with storage produced by Poul Jeppesen in 1965. Click on image for full view.

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern

Collage of the furniture and interior design magazine Mobilia, which Jalk edited from 1956 to 1962 and again from 1968 to 1974.

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern

A cover of Mobilia Magazine of which Jalk was editor in chief for a total of 12 years.

Some of Grete Jalk's designs. Click on image for full view.

Jalk was not only a designer she was also a writer and editor, having served as Editor-in-Chief of the Danish furniture and design magazine Mobilia. This led to a four-volume published work on design which is still considered to be one of the most comprehensive in the field. With simple, functional pieces Jalk’s designs today resonate with a timeless elegance and – most of all – strength.

grete mbilio magazine jalk danish modern scandinavian mid century modern

Designer, writer, and teacher Grete Jalk (1920 – 2006)

 

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