Sideboard / Kaare Klint

Along with the Red Chair, Kaare Klint’s sideboard has often been described as a defining work of his career, condensing all of his principles and ideas into one object. Klint’s design is based on a relentless research, he never compromised. Every piece had to fulfil its right purpose and be absolutely clear in its construction, and it had to display materials and craftsmanship of the highest quality. An analytical approach, mathematical systems of measures and a constructive way of thinking were the foundation of Klint’s philosophy of design – combined with a refined sense of materials.

 

The extensive preliminary study for the sideboard is a classic example. Together with his students at the School of Architecture’s Department of Furniture Design Klint made surveys, practical experiments and measurements to find the perfect form. He had his students compile a list of all the objects a sideboard might contain and the list was accompanied by the standard dimensions on all the objects. After having analyzed the many notes and measurements, Klint and his students arrived at an approximate common denominator and began test arrangements. “These experiments formed the basis for a simple systematic organization of china and glass by size. In reality, the basis for a standardization” – Klint explained. All the drawings for the sideboard and the schematic layouts of the way in which it could be used expose his theoretical systematism, but also a down-to-earth understanding of the practicalities of every-day life.

The final result of these extensive preliminary studies was a sideboard designed to accommodate a multicourse dinner service for 12 persons, including 60 plates, 78 glasses, coffee service, various bottles and decanters and a vast array of other necessary devices. Behind the sliding doors, the interior is divided into four compartments with sliding trays that can be pulled out to provide easy access to the contents and removed entirely for carrying the objects to the table. The design is characterized by a refined simplicity, inspired by English and Chinese chests.

 

Debating modern furniture design Klint often used the sideboard as an example of his functional approach: “People are only slowly beginning to realize that modern furniture must be designed through practical needs. They have, however, come to the conclusion that one has to be able to sit in a chair. But a sideboard’s practicality – if it is a relief and joy to use it every day, thanks to its simple utility – is a matter of indifference to them as long as it looks good (…) It is my conviction, however, that in time people will make the same demands of furniture that they do of a modern house.”