Born and raised in Copenhagen, Jacobsen pursued his architecture degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. After graduating in 1927, he got his first job working for the City Architect of Copenhagen, and just two years later he opened his own studio.
As an architect, Arne Jacobsen had very strong decision-making skills. This resulted in many of his more famous projects being ‘gesamtkunstwerk’, meaning he designed not only the building itself, but also the majority of the interior details, such as light fixtures, furniture, door handles, fabrics and even cutlery. Along with ‘The Egg’ and ‘The Swan’ chairs, Jacobsen originally designed the AJ Lamp for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, which opened in 1960.
During his lifetime, Arne Jacobsen received several prestigious awards, for projects such as the National Bank in Copenhagen (1971), SAS Royal Hotel & Terminal, Copenhagen (1960), and St. Catherine’s College in Oxford, UK (1963). Some say that his fear of flying hindered his potential to make an impact on the American architectural environment.
Jacobsen worked as a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts for 11 years, influencing an entire generation of Danish architects, each of whom eventually developed their own architectural language, many of which were built upon the same functionalist and minimalist approach as Arne Jacobsen’s.