Restoring Ant Chair and Dining Table by Arne Jacobsen

Mid-century Modern (MCM) and Modern Classics are called that because of the time they were conceived and also their design intent. Often these objects were designed by architects to use in their own modern buildings, where traditional pieces might seem out of place.

This page discusses the conservation of the Ant Chair and Drop Leaf Table by Arne Emil Jacobsen, Hon. FAIA. Jacobsen was a Danish architect and furniture designer who lived from 1902 – 1971, known for Architectural Functionalism, but we know him for beautiful MCM chairs, including the iconic Egg Chair, above right.

The Ant Chair and matching Table were designed circa 1952. Our client bought her Jacobsen pieces in NYC in 1960 as a newly wed, and the pieces were deeply sentimental to her.

Before, left, and after, right.

Teak Wood Ant Chairs circa 1952

In the move to Portland, the Ant Chair was deeply scratched with long streaks of crushed surface grain, and the back was overly split and flexed.

The original finish was cleaned and treated, and the grain was successfully raised. MPFC filled one loss in the scratched seat.

Before, left, and after, right.

Before, left, and after, right.

Teak Wood Drop Leaf Dining Table Model 3601 circa 1952

Our client inadvertently laid a wet potted plant on the table, spurring its need for treatment. Several other spots, stains and scratches were scattered around the surface, and we also conserved the top’s loose hinges.

The original finish was cleaned and treated using rubbing methods, and is intact. The water damage to the top would only have been completely removed with refinishing, but we were able to move the grain enough to mitigate its visual impact, while saving the finish, and adding to the value of the table. The spot can only be seen from certain angles due to the change in the grain pattern.

Before, left, and after, right.

We have three pages of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) and Modern Classic objects: