It is impossible to talk about Scandinavian design without mentioning Hans Jørgensen Wegner(1914-2007). After World War II this Danish designer became the key figure in Organic Modernism, a functionalist school of thought whose members included Poul Henningsen, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen among others. Wegner worked for time with Jacobson, designing furniture for the Town Hall of Aarhus, until he set up his own business.
His furniture is always based on traditional craftsmanship and respect for wood, such a commonly-found material in Nordic countries. At the age of fourteen he started working as a carpenter, and later moved from his birthplace, Tønder, in southern Denmark, to Copenhagen, where he continued to appreciate the value of wood while attending the School of Arts and Crafts and Academy of Architecture.
Over the course of his prolific career, he designed over five hundred chairs, thus earning his nickname of the “chair maker”. He always based his designs on traditional pieces to create icons of comfort, ergonomics and honesty.
In the 1950s, Wegner became, together with Finn Juhl and Kay Bojesen, the precursor of Danish Modern, a key movement in western design that continued to grow, and is now known as Scandinavian Design.
His chairs show sensitivity and attention to detail, combining rationale and functionality with a great humanisation of modernism and refuting the staunch critics of “perfect, pure utility”.
His designs can still be seen today, 50, 60 and 70 years later, almost entirely unaltered, timeless. Designs such as the Round Chair (1949), which came to be known by the Americans simply as “The Chair“. There was no need for anything else.
Today, this chair is called CH 24, and is produced by Carl Hansen & Søn alongside other historical chairs by Wegner such as the CH 25 armchair or the Elbow Chair.
Wegner sitting on the Wishbone
Over forty more of his designs are still sold today by PP Møbler.
Kennedy sitting on “The Chair”
“The chair is the closest thing to people, which is why it is important to take perfect care of every detail. I feel the details as much as I can see them. People touch the piece, they see with their hands”.