Carl Hansen & Søn

history

History

The early years

Carl Hansen opened his furniture workshop in Odense, Denmark in 1908 and soon became known for the high quality of his work. In the early days, the company produced bespoke furniture - including everything from dining room sets to bedroom suites. As the company grew and times changed, however, it gradually began to produce smaller series of its most popular pieces. This combination of hand craftsmanship and rational

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series production soon became the firm's hallmark - and continues to set it apart today.Until the middle of the 1940s Carl Hansen & Søn cooperated with Frits Henningsen, a famous Danish architect. Frits Henningsen designed a series of Windsor chairs whereof Carl Hansen & Søn produced some of the models until 2003.

A new designer enters the stage: Hans J. Wegner

Holger Hansen's sales manager at the time, Ejvind Kold Kristensen, kept a close eye on the new breed of Danish furniture designers that began to emerge in the 1940s.

Kold Kristensen was especially impressed by Hans J. Wegner, whose designs won critical acclaim at exhibitions, but was relatively unknown outside of specialist circles. Kold Kristensen had no doubt that Hans J. Wegner was a designer who could propel Carl Hansen & Søn into the next level of growth.

Kold Kristensen approached Hans J. Wegner in the late 1940´s and the collaboration between

Hans J. Wegner and Carl Hansen & Søn began shortly thereafter.

Hans J. Wegner designed four chairs especially for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949 - all of which came into production and were launched in 1950. Among the first four chairs was the legendary Wishbone Chair, CH24 and the beautiful easy chair with seat and back in uninterrupted paper cord, CH25 - both which has been produced ever since.

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Holger Hansen, himself a master cabinetmaker as well as a skilled businessman, worked closely with Hans J. Wegner to adapt the company's series production to the radically different designs.

Dedicating the majority of the production to a rather unknown design was a huge gamble for Holger Hansen at the time. The designs were no immediate success but after a few years the interest for Hans J. Wegner´s designs grew both in Denmark and abroad.

Promotion of Hans J. Wegner´s furniture internationally

Holger Hansen, Ejvind Kold Kristensen and Hans J. Wegner formalized their cooperation in 1951, joining with a few other Danish furniture manufacturers of Hans J. Wegner´s designs, to form SALESCO, a unique sales and marketing company that promoted Hans J. Wegner's work both in Denmark and abroad during the 1950s and 1960s.

SALESCO played an important role in promoting "Danish Modern" furniture internationally, "Danish Design" began to capture interest around the world.

SALESCO, however, did not last forever. First, Kold Kristensen left in order to work with another promising young designer, Poul Kjærholm. Then Holger Hansen died suddenly - and all too soon - in 1962.

Transitions

Holger Hansen's widow, Ella Hansen, kept Carl Hansen & Søn in the family and led it through difficult times with the help of her dedicated staff - a remarkable achievement for a woman of her days. Her son, Jørgen Gerner Hansen, took over management of the company in 1988. At this time the factory was still in the same location as Carl Hansen moved it to in the 1930s.

Holger and Ella Hansen's second-youngest son, Knud Erik Hansen, assumed leadership of the company in 2001. Since then, Carl Hansen & Søn has built a new, modern factory in Aarup outside Odense. Here, Carl Hansen & Søn still produce design furniture such as dining tables and chairs, easy chairs, stools, sofas and coffee tables as well as office furniture and children's furniture - all in the same high quality - especially through a continued focus on years of proud tradition of

craftsmanship combined with the best modern technologies available.

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Today, Carl Hansen & Søn is the largest manufacturer of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner. Carl Hansen & Søn has a close cooperation with the Hans J. Wegner Studio, which enables Carl Hansen & Son to introduce or re-introduce outstanding designs from the treasure chest that Hans J. Wegner left behind. Carl Hansen & Søn also produces outstanding furniture classics by some of Denmark's most

influential architects such as Mogens Koch, Kaare Klint and Ole Wanscher.

Carl Hansen & Søn also continues to find and incorporate new designers. Today Carl Hansen & Søn produce furniture by the Danish design duo Strand & Hvass as well as Thomas Bo Kastholm, son of the famous Danish architect Jørgen Kastholm. Internationally, Carl Hansen & Søn has recently started a design collaboration with the world famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

In 2011 and 2012, Carl Hansen & Søn bought the renowned Danish cabinet maker Rud. Rasmussen´s in Copenhagen and the Danish furniture manufacturer P.J. Furniture in Store Heddinge. Thereby enabling an even more specialized manufacturing of classic Danish design furniture.

True to the company's founding values, it is Carl Hansen & Søn's ambition to make furniture of highest quality, remaining beauty and value with respect for sustainable design, materials and more than 100 years of traditions of craftsmanship.

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