1914-2007

Hans J. Wegner

Hans Wenger (pronounced Vee-ner) is considered one of the most creative and productive of Danish Designers. He was a driving force behind the popular style ‘Danish Modern’. At a time when Danish furniture-making was mainly characterised by the classical, subdued modernism taught by the Danish furniture Master Kaare Klint Wenger introduced designs of a freer form often called ‘Organic Functionality’. His diverse training and craftsman-like approach brought new thinking to Danish Design. He is famous for his well executed joints, flowing shapes and a deep respect for natural materials and their characteristics. His favourite material to work with was wood. He was widely recognised as the ‘Master of the Chair’ and over the course his career designed over 500 chairs with over 100 of them entering mass production. Wegner brought an organic and natural softness to minimalistic design.

"Many foreigners have asked me how we made the Danish style. And I've answered that it...was rather a continuous process of purification, and for me of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat and combined top rail and arm rest."

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Hans J. Wegner

Although he is predominantly know for his furniture Jacobsen is said to only have considered himself an architect, in fact its said he actually disliked the word ‘designer’. During the 1950’s his interest in furniture peaked. His furniture was usually a part of a larger project, his infamous Egg chair and The Swan were created as part of his all encompassing design for the SAS Royal hotel. Jacobsen designed everything form the building plans to the cutlery, light fittings and airport busses. He designed  the equally famous Ant’ chair for the Novo Pharmaceutical factory, this lightweight, stackable chair was fit for purpose.

Jacobsen was a perfectionist, he paid attention to every detail. He strove for modern and innovative designs that were bold, practical, functional and perfectly proportioned.

The Wishbone Chair

In 1944 Wenger designed a chair with a new form, where the top rail and arm rests flowed in one continuous piece.  Inspired by pictures of Danish merchants sitting on Ming Dynasty chairs he created a series of new forms, one of these became his most successful design of all time, the “wishbone” chair. This beautiful and comfortable chair has steam bent solid wood arm rests which flow into the top rail, and support the elegant Y back.It has been in continuous production since it was introduced in 1950.

 

The Shell

In 1963 Wegner moved away form his preferred medium of solid wood and experimented with plywood. The result was the sculptural CH07 or Shell Chair. It was an artistic avant-garde creation and critics loved it. The bold design achieved a floating lightness with a curved wing-like seat and curved tapered legs. Designed with only threes legs the CH07  was masterfully constructed to offer absolute stability. However the Shell was initially met with some caution from the public and consequently the Shell was initially only produced and sold, in relatively small quantities. It wasn’t until the 1990s when the CH07 started to achieve notable prices at auctions that the public finally warmed to Wenger’s design. CH07 has been produced since 1963 by the Danish carpentry and furniture manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son.  The wood used for the CH07 principally originate from sustainably managed Danish forests.

 

The Ox

The Ox is a masculine, sculptural and powerful chair. Wenger took inspiration from his fascination with Picasso for his sizeable lounge chair. The large padded seat covered in oxhide or fabric appears as a single solid body, elevated by strong chromium-plated steel legs. Designed so the sitter could lounge comfortably in multiple positions, the Ox was Wegner’s favourite chair at home. It was a sophisticated and demanding construction that required skilled craftsmanship to produce the Ox.The lounge chair, ahead of its time, was deemed too expensive and by 1962 production ceased . However It was a chair close to Wegners heart and in 1989 Erik Jørgensen and Hans J. Wegner collaborated to bring the Ox chair back to life. By using new technology but staying true to the original design the Ox retained its refined elegance and masculine essence. The Ox Chair has won many prestigious awards and is worldwide exhibited. Its an iconic ‘must-have’ for collectors.

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