It seems to us that making a “Top 5 wooden chairs” list would be really complicated so instead we will name five iconic chairs that have endured the passage of time and are more complete than their subjective beauty.
It is impossible to make such a list without mentioning Thonet. Until the early nineteenth century chairs were completely handmade made one by one. This was until the Austrian Michael Thonet arrived on the scene. His moulded plywood chairs were a revolution at the time and brought about a manufacturing process, which allowed chairs to be made by mass production. His model 14 chair, manufactured in 1867, was the first to be assembled with bolts and thus making the chair more robust. And therefore, a cheaper chair for mass production, which is stronger and more robust by using screws instead of glue and curved wood for the manufacturing process, was created. Beautiful, in fact very beautiful. It is said that this was the first chair to be used by kings and workers. The result: a huge success of sales and a privileged place in design history. Nothing but the best.
A few years later, in 1925, Ferdinand Kramer imagined an elegant, beautifully simple and archetypal chair: the FK02 Karnak. It had a curved back and crisscrossed seat fabric in order to achieve considerable comfort. Since 2012 the German company e15 markets a reissue of this iconic product.
Another great reissue of a classic piece comes from the Danish company Fredericia that manufactures the chair J39, designed by Børge Mogensen in 1947. This chair has been manufactured continuously since then and has undergone very few changes. In other words: its complete simplicity never grows old.
We feel the need to repeat the designer and company for the last two chairs; we are speaking about the great Hans J. Wegner. This Danish carpenter is thought of by many as “the master” of chairs. Designed in 1949, the chair CH24 Wishbone Chair made for Carl Hansen and Son, the chair has hidden strength and functionality through a delicate and elegant appearance.
A few years later, in 1962, Wegner did it again. The chair CH37 shows the Shaker influence with its clean and rigorous lines, it has eared a place in the best design museums.
«A chair should not have a back. It must be beautiful from all angles and sides.» (Hans J. Wegner)