Nanna Ditzel was another one of those strong Danish designers from the old school faction that had a lot of innovative style and a keen eye, but she was a talented woman in the midst of these talented men. She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923 and in 1942, took the hands on approach to design as she firstly training as a cabinet maker at Richards School, also showcasing her work as a student in at the Cabinetmaker's Guild in Copenhagen that showcased the joint work
of designers and cabinetmakers and bolstered their expert collaboration. Afterwards she moved on to studying at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of the Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She graduated in 1946, and soon afterwards established a design studio together with her husband Jorgen Ditzel, where she honed her craft in furniture, ceramics, jewelry and textiles. She has won many awards, tittles, and has gained many accolades from all over the world, as she was one of foremost women in the design world.
Nanna Ditzel career really began in the post war years and she was always enlightened by new designs and materials, where she experimented with them a lot. Her favourite and most used materials throughout her career were foam rubber, fiberglass, wickerwork, plus she also played a lot with the techniques of cabinet-making, tableware, jewelry, applied art and textiles. Within the 1950s she played around with the idea of spilt-level seating and it was within the 50s that she won many medals from Triennale, Milan, as well as the Lunning Prize and she was also awarded a scholarship for design studies in Rome. She also began to design a series of jewelry that won a prize from the esteemed Goldsmith's Association in 1950, and she would eventually join up with Georg Jensen on many more unique jewelry creations. But her flow of design would be struck hard by the unexpected death of her husband in 1961.
She didn’t stay down long as she took part in the One Woman exhibition for various clients worldwide, over her lifetime, as well as designing the iconic children’s “Toadstool” stackable table/chair in 1962. Some of her other more famous and mentionable designs in the following years include the “Trinidad Chair”, furnishing fabric “Hallingdal”, “Bench for Two” that she won gold medal for in 1990, established the colour scheme for “Danish Rails”, the airport seating “Tema”, and the undeniable “ICON” chair, just to name a few of her amazing designs. She also remarried to designer Kurt Heide in 1968 and then moved to London, where they established the International Furniture House.
She moved back to Denmark in 1986, and throughout her career she had a barrage of acknowledgement from her home country in the form of many awards, titles and acclaim heaped upon her, especially the Lifelong Grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1998, and also elected a Knight in the Order of Dannenberg. She also continued to receive countless awards worldwide as well throughout her career. Sadly, after a long and full life of design she died still working in 2005, but her work still live on and her ideals have been instilled into another generation, and she will always be remembered as “The First Lady of Scandinavian Design.”