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Wooden Monkey by Kay Bojesen

Saturday, October 27, 2018



The wooden monkey shown above is currently exhibited at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam. It is designed by Danish designer Kaj Bojesen. This type of design is part of the mid-century design movement. Photographing the object with my phone was the first step I took towards a documented research about the monkey.


Classic status
It is fair to say the wooden monkey has by now acquired a classic status. His name has become a brand. Because of its status, information and promotion on the wooden monkey is widely available in books, magazines and on the World Wide Web. With the latter sparkling my interest the most. Therefore, I narrowed down the results of my research into the following topic

-How are the monkeys nowadays produced? (background information, technical specifications, authenticity of the product, retail information)

-On which types of platforms on the web information about the monkey is shared and presented? (Retail websites, Magazines, social media)

-What are the types of promotions in which the monkey is promoted on the web? (Various promotion materials specified on the monkey)


Birth of the monkey


An Authentic wooden Boysen monkey can be purchased on the web, via second hand and vintage stores or can be acquired through people who possess such monkey. You will most probably experience not much difficulty stumbling upon on one in the Scandinavian region. Inside Danish homes in particular.

Since the wooden monkey is a sought-out item for collectables you will find many people offering their own on websites like eBay, amazon and Esty. Other examples of website selling alternatives include for-sale and Marktplaats.

How can you verify that the monkey that you have acquired or purchased is the real deal? If you wish to buy one from the internet your best guess is to visit the official Kay Boyesen website and search for the find retailer tag at the top left corner of your screen. After you have clicked on the tag, the stores and their location become visible on an interactive map. These stores are verified by the company that produces the toy as official selling points. On the same page and on the right side of the map you will see the logos of some verified online retailers




(A clear print of the copyright stamp is visible on the sole of the right foot)


The Rosendhal Design Group company (in collaboration with the Boyesen family) that produces the handmade monkeys of today are made as       precisely as possible to Kaj Boyensens handmade monkeys from back in the days. This includes the Stamp under the bottom of the feet which shows   the copyright mark with the name of Kaj Boyesen. The only way to differentiate the vintage one from today’s one is by the damage that naturally and   inevitable occurs as a result of ageing.


Responsible design
The monkeys are produced and handmade in Denmark with a focus on using sustainable wood in the process. Two types of wood are used in the making of the monkey; Limba and Teak. The Limba wood is imported from Africa and wears the EUTR certification, a guarantee of lawfully harvested timber in the country of origin. The teak wood is plantation teak, a sustainable alternative for forest teak. With plantation teak the variations are unavoidable. Freshly cut plantation teak varies from wax-coloured to pale greyish green, sometimes speckled with dark spots or stripes. Under the influence of light and air the subtle shades of the teak may change in to a more consistent, golden brown tone. These colour variations are not regarded as a parameter for quality. However, a surface free from marks, splinters, splits and healthy knots is.


The Iconic image of the monkey is seen visible on different forms of promotion material. One could even say the promotion products have become new authentic, independent products of their own. From posters to blankets and more, the image of the monkey has almost become a symbolic kind of design representing the brand Kaj Boyesen. And not to forget also representing part of Danish mid-century design. In the selling of the Items, the wooden monkey cleverly, is placed precisely and with attentiveness next to its own promotion image or item.Thus, creating a rather intriguing image; the wooden monkeys timeless yet iconic image, composed in a near exact same way as the original, forms a dialogue with its own new and reinvented image of its future self. With both objects representing the concepts and Ideas of their own area, the dialogue that takes place is contemporary as ever.













Side note: Captivated by the monkeys legacy I continue to expand my research…

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