Square Danish teak side table by Grete Jalk for Glostrup Mobelfabrik. This table is at once simple and exquisite. The Danish have a certain knack for evoking elegance with the most subtle maneuvers. The spanners are turned with an oval silhouette rather than the typical round spindle. This oval shape appears to be more natural. Such a delicate phrasing of form, appearing to have been turned by the workman’s palm. The table top features disappearing ridges of solid teak along the perimeter. I say disappearing because the ridge fades into the optical vanish line. No detail was missed. Look under the table top to find discreet brass fittings inlaid into the teak. Only the finest furniture would have such a feature out of view. Inferior brands wouldn’t bother. This table exudes design genius.
Recognized as an important Danish modernist designer—working at a time when women were a rarity in the design world—Grete Juel Jalk was born in Copenhagen in 1920. She trained in cabinetmaking at Copenhagen’s Design School for Women between 1940 and 1942; she went on to complete her education at the Danish Royal Academy under highly influential designer Kaare Klint. In 1946, she won first prize at the annual Cabinetmaker’s Guild Competition; five years later, she received wide acclaim for her designs exhibited at the 1951 Milan Triennale.
Around 1953, Jalk opened her own studio and began to develop furniture designs for some of the best known Danish manufacturers, like Poul Jeppesen, Fritz Hansen, Glostrup, and France & Søn. Inspired by the Eameses’ and Aaltos’ organic, molded furniture, Jalk continuously experimented with new materials and production techniques.