Erik Magnussen was born in 1940 in Copenhagen. Educated as a ceramist at the School of Applied Arts and Design he graduated with a silver medal in 1960.
For a number of years he worked for Bing & Grøndahl and later made furniture for Fritz Hansen, door handles for Franz Schneider Brakel, tabletop in pewter for Royal Selangor, tabletop in stainless steel and plastic for Stelton, porcelain lamps for Licht & Form and furniture for Paustian.
Erik Magnussen's designs are exhibited in museums throughout the world and he received the Lunning Prize in 1967 and the Furniture Prize in 1977. In 1983 he was chosen designer of the year by the Danish Design Council and his products have several times received the ID-prize by the Danish Society of Industrial Design. Erik Magnussen received the Bindesbøll Medal in 1996 and he has received grants from the Ole Haslund Fund, the Royal Jueweller A. Michelsen's Anniversary Fund and Knud V. Engelhardt's Memorial Fund.
In 1997 Erik Magnussen was awarded The Red Dot by Design Zentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen and won the Good Design Gold Prize awarded by Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization.