Nanna Ditzel

Copenhagen, Denmark

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923, modern designer Nanna Ditzel (nee Hauberg) initially trained as a cabinetmaker at the Richards School before studying at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She graduated with a degree in furniture design in 1946. She met her first husband, Jørgen Ditzel during her studies, in 1943, and they began working and exhibiting together in 1944. In 1946, the pair established a design studio in Copenhagen focused primarily on interiors and multipurpose, adjustable, and children’s furniture. Their iconic 1959 Hanging Chair, nicknamed the “Egg Chair,” is arguably their most famous piece; the rounded wicker seat hangs from chains from the ceiling.

Since Jørgen passed away in 1961, Nanna Ditzel continued to work in a range of design arenas—from jewelry and textiles to furniture, tableware, and applied arts—and using a variety of materials, including fiberglass, rubber, and wicker. In 1968, she married Kurt Heide and relocated to London, where they created a showroom and meeting place for international design in Hampstead, which was called Interspace. Her own studio and company, Nanna Ditzel Productions Ltd., also made its home in London. In 1986, after the death of her second husband, Ditzel returned to Denmark.

Ditzel was nicknamed the “First Lady of Danish Furniture Design” by the Scandinavian Furniture Fair, and her work has been exhibited around the globe. Her awards include a lifelong artist’s grant from the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1998 and she was elected Honorable Royal Designer by the Royal Society of Arts in London in 1996.  Her clients included Georg Jensen, Kvadrat, Kvist, Fredericia Furniture, among others.

Ditzel continued to work until shortly before her death in 2005 in Copenhagen.