Unlike many of his contemporaries in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, Juhl was as interested in form as in function. “A chair is not just a product of decorative art in a space,” he said. "It is a form and a space in itself.” His attention to form led him to design chairs where the seat is separate from the frame (images 5, 6 & 8) and sofas constructed out of floating shapes (image 7). You can also see his attention to form in the smallest details of his work, like the curve of a wooden arm. Juhl cited sources ranging from Alexander Calder (image 7) to primitive weaponry (image 6 - my personal favorite Juhl design), unafraid to break with the more rigorously abstract strain of modernism that was more prevalent at the time.
More than just a sculptural stylist, Juhl deeply understood his medium, and was able to simultaneously address form and structure. Sanjay Thakur, a furniture designer and craftsman who works at Design Within Reach, describes the Model 45 chair (image 5) in these terms:
The Model 45 is a masterpiece of logic and elegance. The diagonal braces give the frame great rigidity which allows a surprising slenderness throughout the design. The joint of the armrest to the front leg for example, is less than an inch of weak shortgrain — it would break if there were any flex at all in the frame. For Juhl, the engineering is a means to pursue a more beautiful form — in this case a form that is at once incredibly stable and yet seems poised for action.In 1951 Juhl became the de facto spokesman for Danish modern design in America: Edgar Kaufman jr. put his work in MoMA's Good Design exhibit in Chicago, and Juhl was also commissioned to design a meeting hall at the United Nations. Juhl's UN commission was very popular, and it is credited with creating a buzz around Danish design in the US.
Recently, his work became available through Design Within Reach. It is — ahem — hardly within reach, pricewise, but is incredibly beautiful, and still holds up after all these decades. Juhl's home, which he designed in 1941, is now open as a museum, and has hardly aged at all (images).
Sources: For more information on Finn Juhl, check out danish-furniture.com and onecollection.com. DWR has some great background info on its product pages, as well. To browse Juhl designs for purchase, check out DWR and 1stdibs.
Images: 1 & 4 Juhl's own home, via MetropolisMag.com (click through for more images and information)
2 Pelikan chair (1939) via takesunset
3 Finn Juhl via onecollection
5 Model 45 chair (1945), $9000 at DWR
6 Chieftains Chair (1949), $11,500 at DWR
7 Baker sofa (1951), $12,000 at DWR
8 Armchair, 1951 at MoMA