The Story Behind By Design Modern

Antiques To Danish Mid-Century Modern...

By Design Modern grew out of my family's 52 year antique furniture business, Sugar Barrel Antiques. After establishing in 1967, by the early seventies my father was importing traditional antiques from Europe to Vancouver.

After three decades of providing local customers with period antique furniture, we took our business online in 1999.

Around 2004 we noticed a change in how people were furnishing their spaces; there was a shift to a cleaner, simpler, mid-century modern aesthetic.




Finding premium items locally was difficult and we wanted to offer our clients a greater selection and better quality options. In 2005 I made my first trip to Denmark to buy Danish mid-century modern furniture.

It has been over 16 years since that first trip to Denmark and I continue to import hundreds of hand selected items each year. I am passionate about providing unique, high quality furniture and accessories to like discerning clientele seeking alternatives to the cookie cutter, flat pack, DIY options.




What is Danish Modern

Danish modern is sub style of the overall Mid-Century Modern design movement. Primarily a style of minimalist furniture and housewares from Denmark associated with the Danish design movement.

Danish designer and architect Kaare Klint, in the 1920s, embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship paired with exhaustive research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body.

With designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner and associated cabinetmakers, Danish furniture thrived from the 1940s through the 1960s. Adopting mass-production techniques and concentrating on form rather than just function, Finn Juhl, Borge Mogenesen, Grete Jalk, Poul Kjaerholm and others contributed to the style's success.

Danish modern design was firmly cemented in the collective consciousness of those in North America when, in 1960, Hans Wegner’s PP503 armchairs were used for the first televised presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.