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Two Trick Puzzle Pieces or the Portmanteau of Poul Hundevad & Co

- 29 Mar 2016 -
30 posts / 0 new

This thread is about Poul Hundevad: what he designed, what he made, or more precisely what he did NOT make and who made those things and why Poul gets framed for them. He is not the most famous Danish designer, nor producer, not by a long shot, but he is responsible for making one of my favorite pieces of Danish Modern, the Gold Hill Stool or guldhøjstolen.

Two Trick Puzzle Pieces or the Portmanteau of Poul Hundevad & Co


- 29 Mar 2016

Many people, myself included, and even very knowledgeable people ones who aren't parrotting some dealer's idiot attribution, will tell you this is Poul Hundevad's logo and mark, but it is NOT, absolutely NOT. And it is not Poul Hundevad & Co (which did not exist).

- 29 Mar 2016

Interesting. Does Hundevad Vamdrup play into this story?

- 29 Mar 2016

That was a rhetorical question, but I got delayed, so carrying on:

So whose logo is that? That is part of what this thread is about.

But let's back up a bit. There was a well known sales cooperative, called Domus Danica, which included Poul Hundevad. Here is one of its advertisements, and notice that it includes a list of the members. Notice anything odd? Each member seems to have one line, but there seem to be two members that indicate Poul Hundevad. What is going on here?

- 29 Mar 2016

Apparently, there were 2 makers with a similar name:
Poul Hundevad, Vamdrup.
A/S Hundevad & Co, Ulfborg.

To add to the confusion, both were members of Domus Danica.

- 29 Mar 2016

And who is A/S Hundevad & Co.?

So let's look into this. It turns out that Hundevad & Co since 1990 has been Jesper Office Systems, but it was founded in 1935 in the small western Denmark town of Ulfborg as a cooperative of cabinetmakers.

- 29 Mar 2016

And Poul Hundevad was located in Vamdrup, Denmark, where the Gold Hill Stool (Guldhøjstolen) was discovered. See the label below. So not the same place.

- 29 Mar 2016

Ah, but Denmark is not such a big place, maybe they are really close, so that you could zip between them and run two companies at once?

Nevermind, plenty far apart, 130 kilometers apart or an hour and 43 minutes driving.

- 29 Mar 2016

Alright, so if there are two companies who made what? Let's start with Poul Hundevad and his Gold Hill Stool, since it is incontrovertibly his. Can be find a marked one and start to sort this mess out. It turns out that Poul Hundevad was really not very fond of putting his logo on anything (how very Danish of him...), and least of all his Gold Hill Stool. But there are a few, and here is one with even the original box. See that "PHV" logo? That, right there, that is Poul Hundevad's logo. "PHV" for P-oul H-undevad, V-amdrup.

- 29 Mar 2016

So then what is the "hu" logo?

It is the logo for Hundevad & Co of Ulfborg. "HU" for H-undevad and U-lfborg. Or possibly it is just the first two letters of "Hundevad," but Danish furniture factory naming patterns suggest it would have been the town. This is why so many towns are incorrectly advertised as part of the name of a Danish furniture company, because many always put the company name immediately after (for example: Aksel Kjersgaard Odder; Axel Christensen Odder (whose logo was 'ACO'); Koefoeds Hornslet; CFC Silkeborg; Poul Hundevad, Vamdrup; etc).

- 29 Mar 2016

I can't add anything to this thread but I love it! Thanks Leif for starting it, it's an education!

- 29 Mar 2016

Hundevad & Co mainly built case goods, and here is one of their pieces. This was designed by Carlo Jensen by the way. Also, note on the Domus Danica page, that the model number is prefixed with 'hu,' just like the logo, incidentally. This prefix code was how all Domus Danica literature identified Hundevad & Co pieces.

- 29 Mar 2016

And this reminds me of another mystery. A few times I have seen Danish modern pieces--unidentified, and I think all have been case pieces--with a "CHO" mark, and nobody seemed to know whose mark it was. Well, the answer is Hundevad & Co. My guess it is an earlier than the "hu" mark. And the mark is not supposed to be read as CHO, but rather as HCO. This graphic design failure probably had a lot to do with why the company's logo was changed.

- 29 Mar 2016

Domus Danica pages for Poul Hundevad. Notice the "PH" prefix that Domus Danica uses to identify Poul Hundevad products.

- 29 Mar 2016

More Domus Danica pages for Hundevad & Co. Notice the "HU" prefix that Domus Danica uses to identify Hundevad & Co products.

- 29 Mar 2016

The Danish Furniture Index needs to be fixed. There are quite a few bad entries for manufacturer: "Hundevad".

- 29 Mar 2016

The most interesting thing about this case of conflated identity is how perfectly complementary the two companies were. They each completed the other, albeit falsely. And we all see what we want to see and disregard the rest.

Poul Hundevad virtually never used his logo, so Hundevad & Co supplied us with the 'hu' logo. Hundevad & Co virtually never made mention of the town, so Poul Hundevad supplied us with Vamdrup. Hundevad & Co leaves you wondering what the first name is (it was Bent and/or Aage) and Poul supplied us with his first name, which gave rise to the fictitious portmanteau Poul Hundevad & Co. Hundevad & Co employed Carlo Jensen, who is very unknown, or in-housed the designs (Bent Hundevad or Aage Hundevad), so Poul Hundevad supplied us with the suggestion of a known designer, himself. Poul Hundevad mostly made seating of the folding frame sling seat variety, so Hundevad & Co rounded out the product offering for us with a bunch of case pieces.

They are like two trick puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly, but don't belong together at all.

DrPoulet: well spotted. That advertisement is exactly the thing that caught my eye and started all of this. Had it not been for that one dissonant overlap, I could have gone on conflating the two companies for a long time.

- 29 Mar 2016

Very well done, leif. That cleared up a few inconsistencies that I never bothered to look into. I am currently updating my records to split the PH tea cart and HU card table into two separate folders.

And here's a label I just found that has both "a/s Hundevad & Co." and the interlocking H U logo on the same piece of paper.

- 29 Mar 2016

cdsilva: Very nice! I had not found that label anywhere. You can't get much more clear and concise than that.

- 30 Mar 2016

BRAVO, Leif (and additional contributors). Now THIS is why this forum is so important

- 30 Mar 2016

Yes, this is some impressive detective work.

- 12 Apr 2016

Here is another vintage ad. The two companies Hundevad advertised together, even outside of Domus Danica. It is like they were trying to confuse us:

- 13 Apr 2016

I have no idea if the Hundevad's involved were related or not. It would be nice to find out.

- 01 Aug 2016

Thank you SO much for this thread, Leif. We get a whole lot of Hundevad case goods and have been incorrectly attributing them this whole time. Will change that ASAP!


- 26 Aug 2017

I read this thread a while back, and appreciate it as much this time as the last time I read it. Thanks Again Leif, I certainly appreciate the sleuthing.

In the spirit of documenting Poul Hundevad pieces, I figured I would throw some pictures of the tea cart I picked up today on the end of this thread. It is a pretty common tea cart, and there is not really that much of a question of its origin, but I have not seen that many of them that are actually marked. Mine is Marked with Domus Danica Label, and Poul Hundevad, Vamdrup label.

As an aside, the construction is a combination of solid teak (the cylindrical corner verticals), solid beech with teak veneer (the remainder of the structural frame), and teak veneer with sculpted solid teak edge banding for the shelves.

So, do we know if Poul was mainly just a designer/proprietor, or did he have formal cabinet making experience?

- 26 Aug 2017

Poul Hundevad actually described himself as 'snedkermester' which would be the same term used by any of the master cabinetmakers better known under that term who were located in Copenhagen and were part of the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild, whose exhibitions were so influential in the creation of Danish Modern.

In fact many of the factories had owners who described themselves as 'snedkermester.' For instance Søborg. I don't think the term had any precise legal or even cultural meaning by 1960. Obviously in the decades or centuries prior to then these words had more fixed meanings.

In one sense, I don't think it meant a lot whether or not one lived in Copenhagen and was therefore part of the Copenhagen Guild, but in another sense it made all the difference in the world whether a snedkermester lived in Copenhagen or out in the provinces. Perhaps the entire meaning of snedkermester (which I won't profess to fully understand) can be obtained through understanding those two senses of the word.

Here is a Domus Danica catalog page showing the cart:

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